We all have dreamed about it, made plans for it and worked for it — retirement. Although it sounds appealing to slow down and have a free calendar free, retirement can be an opportunity to start a new endeavor, pick up a part-time job just for the fun of it or volunteer at a local non-profit organization.
"Retirement does not necessarily mean the absence of work”, said Paul Magnus, Vice President for Workforce Development at Mature Services Inc. “Nowadays, professionals remain working because they want to stay active, they want to do something they care about or are afraid they didn’t save enough."
Mature Services is a non-profit organization dedicated to training and placing workers 55 and older in jobs and volunteering positions in Ohio. The agency receives funding from the U.S. Department of Labor.
More and more seniors are in the workforce now — a growing trend that started just a few years ago. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 18.8 percent of Americans age 65 and older were employed full or part time in 2016. The same agency projects that the rate for this age group will rise to 23 percent by 2022. After all, employers rate experienced workers high on judgment, commitment to quality, attendance and punctuality, making them appealing employees.
What industries are best suited for seniors? The best job is whatever makes them happy. But there are certain positions where more experienced workers make great candidates — including retail and customer service, telemarketing, entrepreneurship and volunteering.
Many seniors consider jobs in the retail industry, as brick-and-mortar stores often offer flexible schedules, are universally accessible and allow for employees to meet and help a variety of customers in a low-stress environment. Seniors who are frequent shoppers at a particular store where employees recognize them can talk to a manager to see what kind of part-time shifts are open and available.
Another side of customer service Magnus recommends is working at a call center, specifically during Medicare and Medicaid enrollment periods. Senior workers are ideal for these jobs because they tend to empathize with customers, fellow seniors or baby boomers – often the ages of their own children – and talk about a process they know well.
For some, a cause is more important than a salary. That’s why another great industry for retirees is the non-profit sector. Magnus said that lifelong learnings and professional experience are assets in this industry. It is also convenient because it offers a wide variety of programs and organizations nationwide.
The YMCA, a worldwide organization that serves over 10,000 communities in the U.S., offers initiatives for all age groups including the Active Older Adults program, where seniors take group exercise classes, enjoy lunches, have special trips and celebrate social events.
“It’s important that when somebody walks through our doors, they relate to a person who looks like them,” said Stacie Renfro, Associate Executive Director for YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas. “Most of our seniors work here part time because they meet the expectations of the job rather than an age limitation. We welcome applications for any age group because when it’s a great fit, it’s a great fit.”
The Y is always in need of volunteers who want to stay active while serving the community they live in. Similar to the YMCA, there are many organizations where a senior’s experience is extremely valuable. As a volunteer, older Americans can donate their time to schools, libraries, hospitals, churches, food banks and even city senior centers. If seniors are interested, it is recommended that they attend the next event that a non-profit is hosting, shake as many staff members’ hands as possible and ask to be introduced to a manager or director in charge so their desires are well-known.
Seniors seeking a change of scenery but who would like to remain in the same industry as their profession can contact local businesses to see if they’re in need of any services. For example, retired police officers can offer seminars on personal safety, while former teachers can consider tutoring or substituting. With a creative mind, the possibilities are endless.
Whether seniors want to serve as a volunteer to keep themselves busy or work to earn a little extra cash, Magnus has offered a few tips to help them find a job that best suits this new stage of life.
Sky is the limit
Job hunting for seniors takes time. In fact, Magnus said it takes 60 percent longer for someone 65 or older to find a job compared to a younger counterpart. Don’t let that number be discouraging. Instead, it is recommended that seniors build their journey based on experience, skills and desire. Plus, many employers see years of experience as a big benefit.
Studies have shown that people who work in the later decades outlive those who fully retire. As a senior worker, fight the stereotype that suggests that older Americans lose creativity, imagination and productivity. By working on something they love after retirement, a senior can create a whole new beginning for their golden years.
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Fox Business, Monster, New Retirement, Money Crashers, Mature Services.org, YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas
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