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A Top 10 List for Future Employment

Older Workers Willing to Take High Growth Jobs

Many Boomer-age workers are poised to take service jobs when they retire from their current positions.

The Boomers – often called the best educated of recent generations – say they are willing to take service jobs as they exit their long-term careers or professions in the future, a new AARP poll reports.

Workers aged 50 to 70, a group that includes a number of leading edge Boomers, were asked in the survey to do some crystal ball thinking about possible new careers. Offered a list of occupations likely to experience high growth through this decade, they said they were most willing to take these 10 jobs:

  • Customer service representative
  • Teaching assistant
  • Teacher
  • Retail salesperson
  • Landscaper or groundskeeper
  • Cashier
  • Computer support specialist
  • Real estate agent
  • Secretary or receptionist
  • (tie)Truck driver or courier; bookkeeper or accounting clerk; child care worker

"Our research tells us that older workers will continue to have a prominent and increasing role in the labor force in the coming decades," said AARP Director of Policy and Strategy John Rother today in announcing the results of the study. "And they will step up and fill the jobs that are most likely to need workers."

The new national AARP survey, titled "Staying Ahead of the Curve 2003: The AARP Working in Retirement Study ," showed that many of the workers between the ages of 50 and 70 plan to work far into what has traditionally been viewed as their "retirement years", nearly half (45 percent) envisioning themselves either working into their 70s or later.

Reasons for working in retirement varied, but many pre-retirees indicated that their motivation revolves around "a need for money" (22 percent). Seventeen percent said that they planned to work because of a "need for health benefits." Other leading reasons cited were: a desire to remain "mentally active" (15 percent) and to remain "productive or useful" (14 percent).

The AARP survey comes as evidence is mounting that work lives of Americans already are getting longer, and shifts are already occurring toward an older workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported earlier this year that there has been nearly a 30 percent increase in the number of people aged 65-74 who are in the labor force. And the Census Bureau reported that between 1998 and 2000 alone, the number of workers 65 to 74 increased nearly 14 percent, from 3.16 million to 3.59 million.

The report outlined a number of recommendations for the retirement security of older Americans, including "the prompt enactment of a prescription drug benefit in Medicare (as)…an essential first step…" Also recommended was positive action to strengthen Social Security and the private pension system and to encourage individuals to save and invest wisely.

The new poll also showed that 53 percent of workers aged 50 to 70 expect to stop work before age 70. That includes 30 percent who said they would stop between 65 and 69.

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