About 40% of people in their 50s and older are actively looking for work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A larger percentage of these job seekers are women looking for the best job for the next phase of their career.
Women over 50 might be looking for a new job for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they are looking to return to the workforce after years of raising a family. They might be currently employed, but looking for a career change. Or they might have been fired or laid off, and are looking for a new job in their current field.
If you're currently thinking about going back into the over-50 workforce, or you're switching jobs, there are a few pros and cons about being in the workforce after 50 to consider:
Take advantage of good health and stem boredom
Supplement retirement savings that you can't yet access
Regain feelings of progress and achievement
Have fewer opportunities to spend money since you're busy at work
Previously developed skills might be outdated
May need to commute further
Less time to engage in hobbies and other activities that you love
Potential for work-related stress
If you're healthy and active, you may choose to take on new work by switching jobs or get a job after staying home for several years. If children are no longer in need of care, some parents find themselves desiring something else meaningful, and may want to feel the sense of accomplishment or achievement they did in a previous career.
Rejoining the workforce or changing jobs can save you money because you're not home to spend it anymore on shopping, socializing, or activities. On the flip side, the work hours and extra time to commute can eat up the time that used to be available for hobbies and social activities, so be sure to consider this while thinking through what jobs and work schedules you're willing to accept.
If you're rejoining the workforce after some time away, you may need to engage in some retraining to bring rusty work skills up to date or take courses to educate yourself for a new career. One last consideration is work stress, which isn't always present, but is worth considering if you've been out of work and have enjoyed a relatively peaceful and controlled home life.
Whatever your reasons for job searching, you and many other women over 50 have many assets to bring to a position.
Depth of experience, emotional maturity, and specialized knowledge can make these women ideal candidates for many jobs.
Top 10 Jobs for Women Over 50
While it's best to take a job that fits your interests and needs, certain professions are especially ideal for women over 50. Some of these jobs make sense because they offer flexible schedules, while others are popular among women of this age group because they're low-stress or offer the ability to work from home.
1. Administrative Services Manager
Administrative services managers coordinate and manage the supportive services of a company. They might supervise administrative personnel, monitor databases, set goals for the administrative department, and more.
This is an ideal position for someone with management experience. There is no specific career path; managers need to be organized leaders with evident communication skills. This is a terrific job for a leader with lots of experience in the workforce.
Salary and Job Outlook: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Outlook Handbook, administrative services managers earn an average salary of $96,180, and are seeing a projected job growth of 10 percent, which is faster than average.
Other jobs in administration include:
- Administrative Assistant
- Compensations and Benefits Manager
- General Office Clerk
- Human Resources Manager
- Postsecondary Education Administrator
- Program Coordinator
- Travel Agent
2. Bus Driver
Bus drivers transport people to and from locations. They might drive students to school, or they might drive a public bus throughout a city or town.
Most bus drivers only require a commercial driver’s license and a clean driving record, making it a terrific job for those who do not want to go back to school. Some bus driving companies offer paid training.
It also offers flexible hours, making it a good position for someone with a busy schedule.
Salary and Job Outlook: The median salary for a bus driver is $34,450, and the number of jobs is expected to grow about 6 percent from 2016 to 2026—this is about the national average.
Other jobs related to bus driving include:
- Delivery Truck Driver
- Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Driver
- Taxi Driver/Ride-Hailing Driver/Chauffeur
3. High School Teacher
Do you have a passion for working with children? Have you raised children of your own? You might consider a job in teaching. High school teachers often teach one subject. This job can be perfect for people who have work experience in a field, and now want to teach that field to students. With a job in teaching, you also have the flexibility of summer and other school vacations.
Most public school teachers need at least a bachelor’s degree and a state-issued certification. Some states also require teachers to earn a master’s degree once they have a job. For private schools and substitute positions, you may not need certification.
Salary and Job Outlook: High school teachers earn an average salary of $60,320 per year, and are seeing a job growth rate of 8 percent (as fast as average).
Other types of teaching and education jobs include:
- Career and Technical Education Teacher
- Childcare Worker
- Instructional Coordinator
- Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher
- Middle School Teacher
- Postsecondary Instructor
- Preschool Teacher
- School Counselor
- School Principal
- Social Worker
- Special Education Teacher
- Substitute Teacher
- Teacher Assistant
According to research by the Kauffman Foundation, people ages 55-64 have a high rate of entrepreneurship in the U.S. One terrific way to become an entrepreneur if you are a woman over 50 is to run an inn. This is not an easy position — it requires investment and takes a lot of time and energy.
However, if you are interested in working for yourself, and you like to interact with other people, this can be the perfect job for you. Experience in the workplace (particularly in business management or hospitality), as well as experience outside of the workplace (such as running your household), will prepare you for this position.
Salary and Job Outlook: Innkeepers (also known as lodging managers) earn an average salary of $53,390 per year. The job outlook is a bit slower than average, with an expected growth rate of 4 percent.
Other jobs related to being an innkeeper, as well as entrepreneurial jobs, include:
- Convention/Event planner
- Food Service Manager
- Personal Chef
- Property/Real Estate/Community Association Manager
- Tour Guide
5. Medical Information Technician
Medical information technicians, also known as medical records and health information technicians, organize and manage a variety of health information data, both in paper files and electronically. They work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, nursing care facilities, and more.
This job requires strong analytical skills, as well as attention to detail. These are transferable skills that many women over 50 possess. The job also requires computer skills, which job candidates can develop or improve through online courses. This is also an ideal job for women who have previously worked in the healthcare industry and have some knowledge of electronic health record systems.
Salary and Job Outlook: The average salary for a health information technician is $40,350. The job is expected to see a faster than average growth rate of 13 percent.
Jobs similar to medical information technician that are particularly popular include:
- Information Clerk
- Medical Assistant
- Medical and Health Services Manager
- Medical Transcriptionist
- Pharmacy Technician
6. Occupational Therapist
An occupational therapist (OT) treats patients who are injured, ill, or disabled. The OT helps patients to use everyday activities, and improve and maintain skills necessary for everyday life.
As the baby boomer population ages, more and more people require occupational therapy. Many clients over 50 appreciate working with an OT who is in their age range. OTs need at least a master’s degree, although many receive a doctoral degree, which takes about 3-and-a-half years.
Salary and Job Outlook: The time in school might be well worth it since this job is in high demand. The job growth rate is 24 percent, which is much faster than average, and the average salary is $84,270 per year.
Jobs related to occupational therapy include:
- Massage Therapist
- Occupational Therapy Assistant/Aide
- Personal Trainer
- Physical Therapist
- Recreational Therapist
- Speech-Language Pathologist
7. Personal Financial Advisor
A personal financial advisor offers clients advice on taxes, investments, insurance, retirement, and other financial topics. The advisor helps clients to manage their finances to help them meet their goals.
Many financial advisors are self-employed, which allows them to have flexible schedules. Personal financial advisors need a bachelor’s degree, but they typically do not require a specialized degree or certification.
If you are good with numbers, this is a career to consider.
Salary and Job Outlook: Being a financial advisor can be a lucrative job: the median salary is $88,890, and jobs are expected to increase by 15 percent by 2026.
Jobs related to financial advising include:
- Budget Analyst
- Financial Analyst
- Financial Manager
- Insurance Sales Agent
- Tax Preparer
8. Real Estate Agent
Real estate agents help clients to buy, sell, and rent properties. They show these properties to prospective buyers or renters, present purchase offers, and help mediate negotiations between the buyer (or renter) and seller. They also prepare all necessary paperwork and contracts.
This job requires little education: typically, agents must take some real estate courses and pass a licensing exam. The position is ideal for people with interpersonal skills and business acumen, both of which are transferable skills people can acquire through work and life.
Salary and Job Outlook: Real estate agents earn an average of $48,600 per year, and are seeing job growth that is as fast as the national average (6 percent). Real estate brokers can earn a bit more, with an average of $58,210.
Jobs related to real estate include:
- Advertising Sales Agent
- Appraiser/Assessor of Real Estate
- Construction Manager
- Insurance Sales Agent
- Loan Officer
- Retail Sales Worker
- Wholesale/Manufacturing Sales Representative
9. Registered Nurse
Registered nurses (RNs) provide care for patients. This care may include assessing and recording symptoms, administering medicine, collaborating with doctors, monitoring medical equipment, and explaining procedures to patients. Nurses typically work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and nursing care facilities.
This is a terrific field for people who enjoy working with and helping others. It requires going to school: RNs need a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in nursing, or a diploma from a nursing program.
Salary and Job Outlook: The job is in high demand: the average growth rate is faster than average at 15 percent. The median salary is $71,730 per year.
Related medical careers include:
- Dental Hygienist
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
- Home Health Aide
- Licensed Practical Nurse
- Medical Assistant
- Medical Sonographer
- Patient Advocate
- Physician Assistant
- Radiologic Technologist
- Respiratory Therapist
10. Technical Writer
A technical writer helps to write, edit, and otherwise prepare written material used to communicate complicated technological information. A technical writer might prepare how-to guides, instruction manuals, journal articles, online articles, and more.
Many technical writers work for specific companies, but others are freelance writers who are hired for specific assignments. This is ideal for many women workers over 50 who want to maintain a flexible schedule and even work from home.
Jobs in technical writing are ideal for both people with backgrounds in writing and editing, as well as people with knowledge of a specialized technical field, such as medicine or computer science. This position is a great second career for people in either field.
Salary and Job Outlook: Technical writers earn an average salary of $71,850 per year. They see a faster-than-average rate of growth at 11 percent.
Jobs related to technical writing and freelance writing include:
- Computer Programmer
- Interpreter and Translator
- Proofreader and Copy Marker
- Public Relations, Marketing, or Fundraising Manager
How to Stand Out On the Job Market
Despite all the skills and experience that you bring to the table, you will still need to convince employers that you are the right person for the job. However, you also have a number of qualities that make you very hirable as a woman over 50.
Here are some tips for standing out in this competitive job market:
Consider your schedule. Before applying to jobs, think carefully about your schedule, and how a job will fit into that schedule. Are you still raising children, or do you have other responsibilities that take up a lot of time? If so, consider looking for part-time jobs or freelance work. Think about how you will fit a job into your current life, and make sure to look for jobs with the right kind of schedule for you.
This way, when an employer asks questions about your flexibility, you can answer honestly.
Emphasize your experience. Women over 50 have so much experience they can draw on. If they have been previously employed, they have decades of work experience. This work history is something younger workers simply do not have. Highlight your experience in your job materials and interviews.
Highlight your skills. Make a list of all of the skills you have developed, both in the workplace and outside of work. Then, look at job listings in the fields you want. Circle any skills on your own list that fit the requirements of the job. Pay particular attention to transferable skills you have (such as communication or managerial skills) that will be useful in almost any job.
Also, think about the skills and qualities you have as a result of your years of experience. Whether or not you have been in the labor force recently, you likely have qualities gained from experience that employers will want. For example, studies have shown that mature employees are particularly reliable, detail-oriented, and patient. They also have strong leadership skills.
Once you have compiled your list, be sure to include some of these skills words on your resume and cover letter, and in your interviews. This will show the hiring manager that you have the abilities it takes to get the job done well.
Consider developing new skills. Think about any skills that will be necessary for the job, but that you either lack or have not used in a while. Take some time to develop these skills. For example, if many jobs in your field now require some experience with coding, consider taking a class. There are many free classes online for various skills, particularly in technology.
If you want to start a brand new career, remember that you might need to go back to school. Think about your budget and your schedule, and make sure you can afford to complete the requirements for the positions you want.
Network. Even though you likely already have a number of contacts in your field, you can always make more. Consider joining (or rejoining) a professional association in your field. Revamp your LinkedIn profile. Send a letter to your friend and family and let them know about your job search. Networking is an ideal way to make connections that could lead to a job.
Follow your passion. Especially if you are beginning a second career, try to find a job that allows you to fulfill a lifelong passion. Perhaps you have always wanted to work with kids – search for a job as a teacher. Maybe you have always had a woodworking hobby – consider a job as a furniture finisher. Think carefully about what you want to do with this period of your life, and follow your passion!
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics