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Older workers willing to learn new skills

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated work and job trends and upended the way we live, work, and learn.  The second survey in the Work & Jobs Data Series explored how adults ages 50 and older took time during the pandemic to reskill and upskill.  The demand for skilled workers is providing the workforce with leverage to seek jobs with the flexibility and growth opportunities they desire. It is also making the case to employers for the importance of providing opportunities for upskilling and reskilling within their existing and incoming workforce.  

Research shows that almost three in five adults (57%) are willing to learn new skills if requested by their current or a potential employer while two in five (42%) are interested in receiving additional job or skill training of any kind if it were available for free. Despite the willingness to learn new skills, two in three (66%) say that they did not participate in any job-related training or education in the past 2 years.

Among those who did participate in job-related skills training or education programs in the past two years (32%), one in ten took computer or other technology training (12%) or continuing education classes (10%). And when asked about their interest in taking a training class within the next year, computer or other technology training (47%), foreign language (32%), professional skills training (24%), and continuing education (24%) rises to the top.

The pandemic continues to have an impact on in-person versus online/virtual class options.  Most report that the classes they took were online/virtual – not surprising given that two-thirds say their preference was not to be fully in-person. 

Read the Detailed Findings


About the Series

In 2022, AARP Research began sharing workforce trends on a variety of topics as they relate to workers age 50 and over. A new topic is highlighted every two months, and data for each topic are gathered through a nationally representative online survey with results posted in an annotated questionnaire. Each survey topic will be refielded every six to eight months to gather trend data. 

Results will be available for public use. 


Interviews were conducted in two waves:  January 20–24, 2022 and February 24–March 1, 2022, among 2,163 U.S. adults age 50-plus in the Foresight 50+ Omnibus. Funded and operated by NORC at the University of Chicago, Foresight 50+ is a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. household population age 50 or older.  Interviews were conducted online and via phone. All data are weighted by age, sex, education, race/ethnicity, region, and AARP membership.

For more information about this survey, please contact Lona Choi-Allum at  For media inquiries, contact External Relations at

Suggested citation:

Choi-Allum, Lona. Job Reskilling and Upskilling Among the 50+. Washington, DC: AARP Research, April 2022.