Retirement & Financial Planning Report

Those expecting to follow the trend of longer working careers may need to change jobs and maybe even career fields in order to accomplish that goal, according to a study by the Urban Institute.

“Higher educational levels among older adults, changes in Social Security rules that increased work incentives, and erosion in defined benefit pension coverage and retiree health insurance coverage from private-sector employers that made retirement less affordable have led to the recent surge in labor force participation at older ages,” it says.


“For many older workers, delaying retirement does not mean continuing in the same job they held when they were younger. Instead, many leave their long-held employers and occupations behind once they reach their 60s and late 50s, entering new lines of work,” it says.

The report looked at occupations in which someone is most likely to be either still working or to be hired into after age 62, finding that for those with a college education, the best prospects are postsecondary teachers, lawyers, and teachers other than postsecondary. For those without a college education, the most common occupations are delivery workers, truck drivers, janitors and building cleaners.

There were differences by gender, however. Among the college-educated, substantially higher percentages of women than men were hired after age 62 into non-postsecondary teaching, personal care aide or administrative assistant jobs, while men were more likely to be hired into postsecondary teaching and retail sales.

The positive news, according to the study: “Sixty-one percent of workers ages 62 and older agree with the statement that they really enjoy going to work, and 31 percent strongly agree … Older employees tend to enjoy jobs that involve working with children, such as teacher assistants and child care workers.” And while maintenance jobs commonly are considered less desirable, grounds maintenance workers “also report enjoying going to work, perhaps because they work outdoors and jobs tend to be seasonal.”