What does your dream retirement look like? Perhaps you’re traveling the world, visiting exotic places. Or maybe you’re spending time with family and loved ones, baking with the grandkids and enjoying dinners with close friends. It doesn’t matter whether you’re planning exciting adventures or little luxuries, one thing is certain: retirement is all about occupying yourself with the people, places and things you love.
And yet, more than half of Canadians (59 percent) and a staggering 70 percent of Americans expect to spend at least a portion of their hard-earned retirement back at work. Forget about fancy trips and frivolous spending, in today’s economic landscape, more and more seniors are flipping burgers in order to get by.
Personal savings and government assistance simply aren’t enough, according to recent polls by the Bank of Montreal and the American Association of Retired Persons. In Canada, nearly a third of retirees expect to rely “heavily” on their Canada Pension Plan, while 59 percent said they’ll likely take on a part-time job in order to make ends meet. South of the border, 7 out of 10 Americans say they expect to work in retirement, with about half of future retirees saying they’ll continue working for pay.
It’s a new phenomenon known as the “encore career” and it’s becoming the new normal.
A new retirement model
The idea of continuing to work has moved into the mainstream, thanks in part to a convergence of economic and demographic factors. Bolstered by new legislation supporting encore fellowships, these new career opportunities are intended to provide retirees with less stressful, flexible working opportunities. But as with any job, the competition for these extended working options can be quite fierce.
Pushing through lingering biases against older workers takes confidence and determination. While employers are open to hiring elderly staffers, many still focus their attention on attracting and retaining younger employees. When it comes to reentering the workforce, you’ll want to look for opportunities where you can clearly articulate your skills, commitment and extensive experience. According to a survey by The Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College, most employers believe older workers are more loyal than their younger counterparts. Nevertheless, you might want to focus on past employers and colleagues. Folks that are familiar with your personality and proven work ethic are far more likely to want to hire you.
Here’s some good news… As tough as it might seem to compete against eager new grads, labor experts are anticipating a need for retiree reentry. Once baby boomers start bowing out of the daily grind, analysts expect to see a staggering need for skilled workers as there simply won’t be enough younger hires to fill an increasing number of part-time positions.
The best jobs for encore careers
Nearly 75 percent of older workers surveyed by AARP noted that flexible schedules and friendly work environments were an absolute essential when considering an encore employment opportunity. And while some seniors find themselves working in the fast food industry, more fortunate individuals are focused on finding positions that enable them to draw from their wealth of work experience. As such, the following positions have been projected to see the largest growth in demand for encore employees between now and 2018:
- Primary, secondary and special education teachers
- Registered nurses
- Home health aides
- Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants
- Medical assistants
- Licensed practical and vocational nurses
- Business operations specialists
- General and operations managers
- Child-care workers
- Teacher assistants
- Receptionists and information clerks
- Medical and health service managers
- Social and human service assistants
With a list like this, it’s not surprising that older women are expected to dominate the mature workforce. According to U.S. Department of Labor projections, the percentage of female workers aged 65 to 74 is expected to rise from 12 percent to 27 percent by 2018.
A word of warning
When it comes to looking for encore employment opportunities, don’t assume that all job openings are created equal. This is especially true of the work-from-home job market. No stranger to con artists and pyramid schemes, the online job market is a prime place for suspect job offers and blatant scams. When looking for remote employment opportunities, avoid any position that expects you to part with your money as part of the application process. Avoid any job ads that read like marketing copy and always be wary when sending personal information to a generic email address.
You have much to give
When it comes time to consider retirement, don’t immediately assume that your skills are no longer needed in the workplace. Whether you need to work or are simply looking for an opportunity to give back, the workforce is increasingly opening their arms and wallets to skilled mature workers. Indeed, encore part-time employment might just be your ticket to a more fulfilling retirement.