Just a generation ago people expected to work at the same company for most of their adult lives, pay into a retirement plan and once they turned sixty or sixty-two…maybe sixty-five at a pinch… they’d head off into a comfortable retirement.
But those times are essentially gone. According to the Retire Ready Index published by the Commonwealth Bank in 2017, only around 53% of Australians are financially ready to retirement when they reach that stage of life.
In the past year there has been a 38.72 per cent rise in the number of people over 65 looking for full-time work. Only 11.12 per cent have been successful in finding the work they want. (Source: OlderWorkers.com.au)
Jobs for older workers
Basically there are many baby boomers out there that cannot retire and must contemplate continuing on when they would prefer not to. Yet others have retired a few years back and now realize they have to return to the workforce. That means contemplating a second or even a third career.
But what work is there? It’s not like you can compete with the young and hungry ladder-climbers getting started in high-powered professions.
Luckily, there is a wide range of options of jobs for older workers available to you that could be enormously fulfilling, both emotionally and financially. Here is a look at just a few of the best work options for older job seekers.
Who hires older workers?
Older Workers is Australia’s best job board specifically aimed at older workers. On their home page they show the logos of some of the companies that place employment opportunities with them – Coles, Commonwealth Bank, Allianz Wookworks, Skilled, Bupa, A&S, Masters, McDonalds and good old Bunnings. Bunnings have been well known for employing older workers in their stores. I’d like a dollar for every time a male older worker has told me that they would love to get a job at Bunnings!
Think about the companies where your knowledge and skills from what you have been doing for years could be of benefit to their customers. That is a major point in your favour. When you prepare your resume and cover letter don’t just list what you have done. Make sure they can see the link between your skills and what you can offer their customers.
Don’t fall into any of the common mistakes that older workers often make when they undertake a job search after many years. Things have changed a bit in the best way to put yourself forward to a new jobs.
If you have a peaceful and patient temperament you might consider working in the healthcare field as some sort of caregiver. Care Careers is a job board which advertises jobs for older people seeking work in caring roles. Sure, you’re at retirement age and might consider yourself as being ‘a bit old’. But there are plenty of people in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s that need assistance in their daily lives. Many of those people are more comfortable interacting with someone closer to their age. It’s consistent work and you’ll enjoy the satisfaction of helping someone who may not have many friends or any family to see to their needs.
If you have some sort of disability you may be interested in the services run by Wise Employment who offer disability employment, job active, NDIS and mental health employment.
If you love to travel and plan on driving around parts of Australia, consider the possibility of working as you travel. Workabout Australia has been helping people find jobs as they travel for over 20 years. Their slogan is “We can point potential employees in your direction”. That’s fairly compelling from the perspective of both the employer and the potential employee. In many parts of Australia there is a shortage of skilled and unskilled labour at certain times of the year. The idea of being able to travel and work at the same time has great appeal. This site is a place where you will find that genuine itinerant jobs are available for older workers.
Probably the most seamless transition can be yours through working as a consultant. While you might not have been successful getting a job as an older worker in your industry, being a consultant gives you and the company flexibility. The work gives you the opportunity to draw on the decades of experience you’ve accrued within an industry while keeping a handle on your own schedule. From a company’s perspective they get someone experienced when they need them, but are not adding another permanent staff member.
How to start as a consultant
You could start looking for consulting opportunities with your previous employer, working with them on a part-time or project-by-project basis. If they don’t have any openings, pop open your contact list and start thinking outside the box.
Perhaps you have some long time associates that now work elsewhere or run their own businesses. Maybe prior competitors can now become your employer. All you need is a simple website and some leads. If you’re having trouble generating this business on your own, consider registering with a temp agency. That should at least get you going while you continue to develop a list of clients
If you have skills and experience that can be shared online then working as a self-employed contractor can be a great way to combine income and working to your own schedule.
There are quite a lot of bidding sites where you can offer your services to people who are looking for someone to perform specific jobs. These tasks are wide ranging – from home-based online work to active outdoors jobs.
The people who post these jobs don’t care if you are an older worker (unless it is heavy physical work perhaps). They want experience and a quick solution to their problem.
Doing what you love to do
If you are someone with a special skill is there a way you could turn that into a small business that you would do in your own time. Consider all the skills which you love to use.
If you love to make something eg wood work or metal work you could advertise locally for commissioned work or sell your wares in a local market. If you have green thumbs you could sell your seedlings, or more advanced plants. The ideas are endless.
I recently read about an 83 year old woman who is a speech and drama teacher, still teaching students who win local and state awards for their work.
It may not bring in a lot of money but if it’s something you love to do then why not make something out of it.
Your own online business
Not everyone really WANTS to retire. That might come as a shock to others who are hanging out for the day they can leave. The difference lies in how much you enjoy your work, the sense of purpose and satisfaction you get from it and, in many cases, the flexibility you have with time and commitment. All of those reasons are why I – and many other people – continue building my online business past retirement age. It’s quite trendy to be a boomerpreneur! As you are your own boss it is an ideal job for an older worker.
Technology has made working from home a desired lifestyle for many people, from millennials to baby boomers. For little cost you can set yourself up with a business online. Over the last ten years that I have been attending workshops and seminars about online business I have noticed the dramatic increase in the number of older people who are keen to learn about how to create their own business online.
But you need to be very sure that you have chosen the right business model to suit you. You also need to be aware that you will probably need to learn some marketing and other skills related to the business you choose.
What’s YOUR next step?