Changing jobs after age 50 is becoming increasingly common, and there are more opportunities for doing so than ever, but it still comes with challenges beyond those faced by younger workers changing jobs, according to the Center for Retirement Research.
It said for example that 42 percent of men who are working between ages 58 and 62 are no longer working for the employer they had at age 60, up from 30 percent in 1983.
Those working for a different employer tend to still be working in similar occupations, but “the opportunities increasingly narrow as they enter their late 50s and early 60s.” Major barriers are policies favoring hiring from within, and a bias against hiring older persons into jobs requiring strong cognitive skills, it said. In contrast, physical demands of the work are not as serious a factor.
The widened opportunities for late-career job switching tend to go most heavily to better-educated persons, it said.
“The ability of older job-changers to find suitable employment is important not just because it affects their current income. Whether they can find new employment also affects their ability to remain employed long enough to secure an adequate retirement income at a time when Social Security replacement rates are declining, the pension system has shifted from defined benefit pensions to 401(k)s, and longevity is rising,” the study said.