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17 Best Jobs for Older People (and How to Get Started)


An image of an professional older lady working at a computer to indicate the possibility of jobs for older adults

40% of older Americans expect to retire later than they originally planned because of living costs and inflation. 


Are you in your 60s, 70s, or 80s, or retiring early and looking for work? For lots of older people, this can feel daunting. They worry if there are jobs out there for them and feel uncertain about where to start.


But don’t worry! There is still plenty of work out there for you! In fact, nearly two-thirds of people aged 55-64 are working or actively seeking a job. And almost a quarter of folks aged 65-74 are.


In this article, I’ll help you clarify what you might want in a job and give you my top options.


There Are Plenty of Good Jobs Out There for Older Adults


If you’re older and want to find enjoyable work, your prospects are pretty good. Statistics show the following:


  • There are more seniors in the workforce than in the past. About one in five Americans age 65 or older was employed during 2023. That’s almost double the number of older folks who were employed in the late 80s. And the number is predicted to continue going up.

  • The average pay for older workers is rapidly increasing compared to younger workers. From 1987 until 2023, the average wage of 65+ workers has shot up from $13/hour to $22/hour, while the average wage for workers aged 25-64 has only increased from $21/hour to $25/hour. 

  • Older workers have higher job satisfaction than younger workers. Those aged 65+ are more likely to find their job enjoyable and fulfilling than those aged 18-64 and less likely to find their work stressful and overwhelming. 

Why Getting a Job as an Older Worker Can Be Good for You


Work is a massive part of people’s identity and life in our culture. So when someone stops working, it can threaten their identity, shake their sense of purpose, and leave them feeling aimless in their days.


According to this study, the top reasons for working into one’s older years are:


  • Maintaining a daily routine

  • The desire to stay active and healthy

  • Social connections

  • Financial support

  • A sense of purpose

If you are an older person yourself, finding a job might help alleviate stress by bringing in income, giving you a stronger social network, keeping you active, giving structure to your days, and bringing meaning into your life.


What to Consider When Picking a Job as an Older Person


In a moment, we’ll get to a list of some great job options. But before looking at specific job ideas, it can be helpful to get clear on what exactly you are seeking in a job.


This is something that the career coaches here at the International Association of Career Coaches help people with every day. If you’d like support finding clarity on what you want out of a job, consider speaking with one of our trained career coaches.


Here are some top considerations when thinking of what job you want:


  • Job satisfaction. Can you find a job that isn’t just a way to earn money or spend time but that actually brings more enjoyment and fulfillment to your life? When considering job options, think about what skills you enjoy using and what roles sound fun and engaging.

  • Physical requirements. Do you want a job that keeps you physically active, or would standing for long hours and lifting heavy items be a dealbreaker?

  • Pay. Are you relying on this job to keep your finances afloat, or is it just providing a little cushion? This might determine if you can work a job that pays near minimum wage or if you’ll need something with a larger salary. In this article, we’ll provide roles with a wide range of salaries.

  • Educational requirements. Consider if the job will require you to pick up a new skill. If so, would you feel excited to get trained or certified for this job?

  • Location. Do you want to work remotely from home or would you prefer to work on-site at a physical location?

  • Schedule and hours. How much flexibility do you want? How many hours a week do you want to work?

  • Social. Some jobs are more solitary, and others will thrust you into dozens of social interactions. When looking at jobs, it can help to ask what environments you enjoy spending time in and what type of work might supplement your social life.  And if you’re an introvert, it might be nice to find work that doesn’t require a lot of socializing.

  • Helping others. After committing so much time to a career, many older workers say they can feel purposeless after retiring. Is it important to you to contribute to helping others in some way? Here are some great reflections to figure out what might continue to give you a greater sense of purpose.

Now that you have a little more clarity on what you’re seeking in a job check out the following job options.


Part-time Jobs for Older People


If you are seeking a part-time job where you work somewhere between 5 and 30 hours a week, then one of these ideas might be a good fit. 


Fractional executive


Average salary (in the USA):  $71,000-$182,500/year


Minimum education level:  Extensive industry experience


If you have a longstanding career where you’ve developed expertise and leadership, you could consider becoming a fractional executive.


If you’ve been in an executive position in the past, you could work in a fractional role as a c-suite executive or as a VP/director of:


  • Finances

  • Marketing

  • Operations

  • Technology

  • Human Resources

  • Information

  • Legal

  • Sales

  • Compliance

  • Product

  • Data

  • Information security

Fractional roles can be fulfilling because you get to offer your wisdom and leadership to a small, medium, or transitioning company that needs the experience you’ve spent a whole career developing. 


In many ways, a fractional executive is the best of all worlds. You get to take on fulfilling leadership responsibilities, you get to work a flexible schedule without the high stress and hours of a normal executive role, and you have a bit more stakes in the company than a consultant. 


Get started here: Here are 6 steps to becoming a fractional executive written by Zachary King who has worked several fractional roles and runs the Fractional Exec community.


Board member on a board of executives


Average salary (in the USA):  $112,575/year and stock


Minimum education level:  Significant experience as a C-suite executive, in senior management, or as a successful entrepreneur


If you’ve accrued years of business acumen, knowledge, and wisdom, you could also consider becoming a board member. It’s a less hands-on role than being a fractional CEO, but it will give you the satisfaction of helping steer a company.


You’ll likely be expected to attend a quarterly board meeting, and possibly to join a smaller sub-committee on the board that will meet throughout the year.


In a world where ageism does, unfortunately, exist, being in your later years might actually help your credibility if you apply for a board position; the average age of board members for S&P 500 companies is just over 62 years old.


One satisfying aspect of being a board member is that you can choose companies whose missions speak to you, and you can be on several boards at once. Consider though, that working on the board of a non-profit company is often an unpaid role.


If you’re interested in continuing to hone your leadership, influence, and skills with group dynamics, this could be a fun opportunity.


Get started here: Here’s an article that gives some great tips on how to become a board member, written by Harry Kraemer, professor at the Kellogg School of Management.


University adjunct professor


Average salary (in the USA):  $3,000-$7,000 per course


Minimum education level: Masters or PhD


Some universities and colleges will take on adjunct professors to guest-teach a course for a term. If you have had a successful career as a marketer, for example, you could teach a marketing course at a college and share your on-the-ground knowledge with students. 


While most adjunct positions will require secondary education, some universities will be okay with significant career experience.


This could be a great fit if you enjoy teaching or want to try your hand at it. It can also be creatively rewarding to design a course syllabus and class lesson plans, knowing that your material will directly impact students’ lives.


While it’s a sizeable commitment to teach a semester-long course, being an adjunct professor is a contract gig. So once the course is finished, you’re free. This might be a perk if you just want a short-term commitment, but it could also be a downside if you are looking for something stable and certain.


Working as an adjunct professor may also not be a great choice if you are seeking high pay. Adjunct professors average about $5,500 per course at universities and about $3,000 per course at community colleges. And a course is a fair amount of work—it requires planning and preparing the course outline, teaching several times a week, grading homework, and supporting students for 15 weeks. For many people, that amount of effort is worth more than a few thousand dollars.


But if you have extra time, genuinely want to use your knowledge to help students bloom, and already feel financially secure, this could be a fulfilling option. 


Get started here: Here is a job board for adjunct positions.


School recess aide


Average salary (in the USA): $16.28/hour 


Minimum education level: High school diploma


Recess aides help keep the peace during school recess. They keep an eye on the kids playing and will help settle disputes. 


In some schools, recess aides might also support PE teachers in facilitating play activities.


Be prepared for rigid hours, as you’ll be working on the school’s schedule. It’s also a job that’ll keep you on your feet, so this one is best suited for more active adults.


If you like kids, enjoy staying active, and want to help with conflict management, you might enjoy this role.


Get started here: Check out job openings on Indeed for a recess aide in your area.


Library assistant


Average salary (in the USA): $17.03/hour


Minimum education level: High school diploma and basic computer skills


Library assistants help librarians organize books. They also work at the library desk to check books in and out, issue library cards and help people find books.


This could be a great job for bookworms out there who believe in the power of free knowledge. 


Get started here: Check out the official job list for the American Library Association.


Tour guide


Average salary (in the USA): $21.75/hour


Minimum education level: High school diploma (and some organizations require specialized training)


There are several types of tour guides. Here are a few top possibilities:


  • City tours

  • Museum tours

  • Historical tours

  • Nature tours

  • Haunted city ghost tours

Working as a tour guide is a great opportunity to practice leadership by managing a group and keeping them engaged. It’s also a good job for people who are charismatic and good storytellers. 


And if you enjoy nerding out and teaching others about hidden history and knowledge, then this could be a great fit.


There are also different options for physicality as a tour guide. If you want to be on your feet, walking tours are an option. If not, there are also tours you can lead from a bus.


Get started here: Here are 12 reasons to become a tour guide, with some job links at the bottom.


Full-time Jobs for Older People


If you need a solid income to fund your life, then a full-time job could be a good option. Below are several job ideas you can work full-time. Notice which ones speak to your values (for example, do you want a job that’s purposeful, fun, or flexible?).

And don’t let yourself feel deterred if you don’t feel qualified for a job; consider that you have a wealth of skills that you can repurpose. 


Venture capital or private equity advisor


Average salary (in the USA): $300,000/year and possibly stock options


Minimum education level: Business leadership experience


If you have experience as a successful entrepreneur, in management positions, or as an investment banker, you might consider joining a VC or PE firm as an advisor.


If you take the VC route, it might feel exhilarating to help support young companies and to potentially shape the future of different industries. If you have an appetite for risk, this could be a good choice.


The PE route might be more appealing if you are a strategic and operational wizard who loves figuring out how to make a company more lucrative and efficient. It could also be fulfilling to help turn around struggling companies with unexpressed potential. 


This one is definitely for the folks who are not concerned about their stress levels as it's one of the highest stress roles on this list, but also among the top paying.


Non-profit program director


Average salary (in the USA): $127,232/year


Minimum education level: Leadership experience


If you’ve accrued valuable business experience and would like to point your skills in a humanitarian direction, you could take a leadership position at a non-profit. 


A program director oversees all of the non-profit’s programs and makes sure they’re on track for the organization’s goals. In this position, you will lead teams, run the budget, and work with stakeholders.


In this role, you’ll typically report to the CEO or president. If you’d like to try a non-profit role with less stress and responsibility, you could go for a program manager (who manages a single program) or a program coordinator (who does the on-the-ground work for a manager).


Most opportunities for this role will be in person at an office. However, there are some hybrid opportunities to look out for. It’s also a job without much physical demand.


Get started here: Try this job board for non-profit program director positions.


Administrative or executive assistant


Average salary (in the USA): $51,191/year for an administrative assistant, 64,397/year for an executive assistant


Minimum education level:  High school diploma


Administrative assistants are organizational maestros who help a business run smoothly. They might manage schedules, book appointments, deal with communications, and keep track of office supplies. 


Administrative assistants tend to support a range of teams and departments, while an executive assistant offers personalized support to a senior executive. EAs take care of the executive’s communications and correspond on their behalf to the rest of the office. 

It’s a highly social job, where you’ll be interacting with other members of the office. It’s also not a job that isn’t super physically demanding.


Working as an administrative or executive assistant can be fun and keep you on your toes because you need to balance such a variety of tasks. It can be an especially meaningful job if you’re working for businesses whose mission you support.


Get started here: Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to become an administrative assistant and here’s a guide on how to become an executive assistant.


Customer service representative


Average salary (in the USA): $63,189/year


Minimum education level: High school diploma


In this solid-paying job, you connect with a company’s customers through phone and email support. 


For example, if you work for an online education company, you’d be the person to help answer client’s questions about courses and payments. If you work for a backpack company, you’d be the person who answers emails helping clients find the right product and make returns.


It’s a job that won’t require any physicality. However, you might need to learn to use a new technology platform, which will require some tech savvy.


This can be a social job and can make you feel like you are directly helping people. 


This is also a role that you can often do fully remotely.


Get started here: Here’s a job board for remote customer service roles.


Self-Employment Options for Older People


Did you know that almost one-quarter of workers aged 65 years old or more are self-employed? Whereas only one in ten workers aged 25-64 is self-employed.  


Entrepreneurship is a great option that lets you honor your lifestyle preferences. You can dictate how many hours you work and where you work. Working for yourself can be a fulfilling option, but it also comes with its fair share of uncertainty. 


If you have an entrepreneurial spirit (or want to develop one!), see if any of these options appeal to you.


Career coach


Average salary (in the USA):  $137,000/year (when certified with IACC)


Minimum education level: Bachelor's degree, business experience, and career coach certification


Becoming a career coach is a terrific option for those with years of business experience and some degree of industry expertise.


As a career coach, you get to choose when you work and how much. It can also be a very fulfilling career to meet with clients and help them find clarity in their career journey. Career coaches also need to teach clients the tools and steps to succeed in whatever their career desires are.


It’s a job with low physical demand. 


You can choose whether you’d like to meet with clients in person or over Zoom. Meeting with clients does provide a level of social engagement, but if you want social support from colleagues, you’ll have to join a community of coaches, like the Path for Graduates.


Get started here: Here is the International Association of Career Coaches certification program. If you’re uncertain, you can book a free consultation call.


Author (fiction or non-fiction)


Median salary (in the USA):  $6,080/year for part-time or hobbyist authors and $20,300/year for self-employed writers who identify as full-time. 


Note that if you do have a love for writing but need higher or more steady pay, you may consider full-time employment as a writer corporately, which pays a median of $73,150/year.


Minimum education level: NA


If you have a story to tell or ideas to share, then this might be the path for you.

Since you’ve already had at least one career, you have a wealth of life experience that you can share. Writing can be extremely gratifying. To watch your ideas come to life on the page.


You get to work on your schedule with your own creative process. However, this is a double-edged sword; for many writers, creative resistance is a formidable foe, and it’s not uncommon for writers to spend their workdays doing anything but putting their fingers on the keyboard.


It can also be a notoriously lonely career. But if you're an introvert or you already have an abundance of people in your life, that might not be a problem for you.


One other consideration is that working as an author can be a difficult way to make money. But it’s not impossible!


Interestingly, authors who make over $100k/year write for an average of 31 hours per week and have published 13.5 books (as opposed to writers who make about $10k/year write for about 16 hours per week and have published 7 books). Prolificness and consistency help. Plus, most financially successful writers have been writing for at least 3 years, so it can take time to find your voice and audience.


It’s also worth noting that, by far, the most financially successful authors write books about romance. So, if money is a main motivator, consider this genre speaks to you.


Get started here: Here are some great tips on becoming a professional writer.


Virtual assistant


Average salary (in the USA):  $24.50/hour


Minimum education level: High school diploma and computer skills

Working as a virtual assistant is a good way to make money remotely. You can work from your living room sofa or a local coffee shop.


Many entrepreneurs hire virtual assistants to help them with scheduling, phone calls, managing emails, and executing marketing tasks.


Some employers seek virtual assistants to keep by their side for years, and other employers contract virtual assistants on specific short-term projects.


Get started here: Check out this article on how to become a virtual assistant.


Dog walker


Average salary (in the USA): $18.30/hour


Minimum education level: NA


If you’re an animal lover and enjoy taking walks, this could be a perfect income source. 

You’ll get some extra exercise and give pooches the attention and exercise they need to feel healthy.


The starting salary for dog walking apps isn’t too high, but if you can develop your own private practice, this can become much more lucrative.


Get started here: You can start with an app like Wag! or Rover. Here’s an article on the five common paths to becoming a pet sitter.


Ride-share driver


Average salary (in the USA): $23.33/hour


Minimum education level: NA


23% of Uber drivers are over 50 years old. As long as you have a car and feel comfortable driving, this can be a great income boost. 


If you value flexibility, this could be a great option because you can also work whatever hours you please.


You get to meet and chat with a variety of people and work whatever hours suit you. It can also be fun to listen to music and cruise around the back corners of your city.


If there’s no Uber or Lyft in your city, here are 10 of the best ride-share alternatives to look into.



Consultant


Average salary (in the USA):  $43.53/hour


Minimum education level: Bachelor's degree and business experience


If you have prior expertise in a role or industry, you can take that knowledge and become a consultant, where you give professional advice and guidance to business owners in your wheelhouse. 


This is a stimulating option where you can directly apply the knowledge and skills you’ve cultivated over the years.


Get started here: Here’s a great article that walks you through the ins and outs of becoming a consultant. And while certification isn’t necessary, here’s one consulting certification option to look at if it appeals to you. 


Starting your own business can be one of the most personally rewarding ways to spend your next act. Whether you want to use familiar skills as a consultant, unearth a hidden passion as an author, or dedicate yourself to helping other people as a career coach, working for yourself can be deeply fulfilling and flexible. 


Resources for Finding Jobs for Older People


There are different avenues to find a job. Here are some solid strategies you can implement:


Job boards for older adults


When looking for a job, here are some of the best places to start. Just enter either your location or your preferred job in one of the following sites.


In addition to the above job boards, there are also resources specific to older adults looking for work. Here are some websites to try:


The best industries for older adults


If you want to look for a job by industry, below are some of the industries that have the highest share of older adults. 


But note that just because an industry has a high share of older workers, it doesn’t mean it’s the best. These industries tend to have a good portion of older adults, but make sure the job still fits your other criteria.  


  • Religious organizations. 21.3% of workers are 65 or older. Many of the roles in these organizations are less physically demanding for older people. Plus, if you’re looking to align your work with your spiritual connection, this might be a great place to do so.

  • Motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and supplies merchant wholesalers. 18.5% of workers are 65 or older. This could be working sales in an auto shop or even in a warehouse. Many of these jobs might require some physical movement. However, if you’re a car lover, this could be a good industry to consider.

  • Musical instrument and supplies stores. 17.1% of workers are 65 or older. If you love music, you could work as a sales associate or manager in a music store. If you’re a musician, you could also consider teaching others how to play your instrument of choice.

  • Independent artists, writers, and performers. 16.2% of workers are 65 or older. Professions in this industry include dance teachers, photographers, and painters. If you are an artist but have never put your creativity at the center of your life, now could be the time to try putting yourself out there.

  • Scenic and sightseeing transportation. 15.9% of workers are 65 or older. Think boat tours, trolleys, and hot air balloon rides. These jobs tend not to be physically demanding. You’ll also get to chat with customers and provide people with a meaningful experience.

Strategically network to find a job


Using your network is one of the most effective ways to get your job application seen.

This can be an especially important strategy for older adults who have accrued a large network over their lives. Plus, it can help to have someone vouch for you as a quick learner who can pick up new skills.


Try this simple process to network effectively.


  1. Create a list of 20 closest friends and family members. They don’t have to be in your desired industry. Just anyone you’re close to!

  2. Reach out to each person as you typically would to reconnect. If they’re a texter, give them a text. If they’re phone call person, schedule a call. Or if you tend to connect via email, shoot them an email.

Don’t force the issue that you’re looking for a job. But if the conversation naturally goes in that direction, let them know what you are seeking. About 1 in 10 people will offer to introduce you to someone.


Why are there more older adults in the workforce today?


Part of the reason that there is a rising number of seniors in the workforce is that there are simply more people older than 65 than there used to be because of the aging baby boom population.


But also, a greater proportion of 65+ folks are working now compared with the 1980s. Several key factors cause this:


  • More older Americans have college degrees today than in the past, which tends to help with employment (though if you don’t have a college degree, don’t worry! There are still tons of options out there for you).

  • Older adults are healthier today than they have been in the past.

  • Companies tend to provide 401ks instead of pensions, which incentivizes people to keep working into older age.

  • Social security has bumped the age up to 67 when a person receives their full retirement benefits.

  • As technology has developed, more jobs are less physically strenuous.

Takeaways About Jobs for Older People


According to one study, HR managers report that workers over 50 years of age tend to be professional, reliable, and have a strong work ethic. When applying for a job, use your age to your advantage! You have years of skills to bring to the table.


Before searching for jobs, remember to ask yourself what you’re looking for in work. Which of these considerations matters to you?


  • A non-physically challenging job (or maybe one that is)

  • A certain minimum pay

  • Remote work or in-person work

  • Certain scheduling and hours

  • A certain level of social contact

  • A job that fulfills a feeling of purpose

In your journey of finding a new job, remember that it’s never too late to hire a career coach. Working with a career coach could help you clarify what you are seeking in a job and can help you find a job that suits your needs. 


If you’d like to consider getting support from a career coach, fill out this form, and we can pair you up with an excellent career coach who can help you get to where you want to go.


Best of luck!

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