Retirement & Financial Planning Report

A review of job postings from employers specifically seeking older workers—or at least inviting older workers to apply, among others—has yielded a mixed view of employment prospects for later-career people looking for other work, as many federal employees do after retiring from the government.

A study by the Center for Retirement Research notes that the trend toward extended careers, or new employment after formal retirement, “has sharply increased the labor force participation rate among older individuals. However, working to older ages requires more than a willingness on the part of workers; it requires employers to hire them on terms that are worthwhile.”

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It said an examination of a leading jobs site for older workers found that about 20 percent of the listings come directly from employers while the rest had also been posted on a general jobs site. About four-fifths fell into one of eight general categories, the three largest of which – office jobs, healthcare support, and sales – “are often associated with older workers.”

The most commonly sought skills on the site were computer/mathematical; transportation/material moving; healthcare practitioners and techs; management; and food preparation/serving.

The report said the listings “at first blush suggest reason for optimism.” They “show the same geographic dispersion as jobs aimed at all age groups, cover a broad swath of occupations, and are likely to be full-time. They also offer higher wages than the postings on the general jobs board, although fewer of them mention health or retirement benefits.”

However, “A somewhat less positive picture emerges when looking only at the direct postings specifically targeted to older workers. These postings tend to have substantially lower average wages than those aimed at a general audience and are even less likely to mention health or retirement benefits.”

“In sum, the jobs available to older workers are broadly dispersed geographically, and are of generally good quality when compared with jobs aimed at the general population. This pattern is particularly true for bridge jobs that offer income but no fringe benefits. However, the jobs that employers actively try to recruit older workers to fill are of poorer quality than general jobs, in terms of both salary and benefits,” it said.

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