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The 10 Most ‘Age-Friendly’ Jobs

Flexible hours, work-from-home options make these roles good fits for many older adults

spinner image a female tour guide talks to a bus full of people
Tour guide is among 10 jobs the National Bureau of Economic Research says are the most "age friendly."

There’s good news if you’re looking for a job that meets your needs and preferences as you grow older. The number of openings for jobs that are “age-friendly” increased by 49 million positions between 1990 and 2020, according to a new report from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

To determine what makes a job age-friendly, researchers looked at U.S. Department of Labor descriptions of 873 occupations to find ones with qualities older adults indicate they prefer. Those characteristics include schedule flexibility, telecommuting options, fewer physical job demands, a comfortable pace of work, autonomy on the job, paid time off, teamwork, job training opportunities, and work that is meaningful.

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It turns out that making jobs more suitable for older adults benefits workers of all ages, the researchers say, with younger college graduates and women also flocking to the professions that were found to be the most age-friendly. “[T]he creation of age-friendly jobs is effectively part of a broader policy of creating good jobs,” the report says.

The following 10 jobs are the occupations that were identified as the most age-friendly. Clicking on the job title will take you to a list of the current postings available in that field on the AARP Job Board. (Occupations without a link on the job title tend to be freelance or contract work and thus had fewer postings on the job board.) All wage data is from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

1. Tour and travel guide

Average hourly wage: $15.96

While these jobs can sometimes require a fair amount of walking and generally can’t be done remote, they still are age-friendly because of the flexible hours. If you’ve spent years getting acquainted with the details and history of your city, nearby parks or museums, becoming a tour guide can be a friendly way to turn that knowledge into income.

2. Transportation ticket agent

Average hourly wage: $21.94

While many people book their own travel online, there still are jobs for travel agents who can help customers plan trips and make reservations, which can be especially valuable when airlines cancel flights. One perk of this job is that many of the companies offer employee discounts for personal travel. 

3. Receptionist

Average hourly wage: $14.40

There is still a steady demand for receptionists, even if the number of jobs available in this field isn’t expected to increase much in the near future. Paid time off and light physical demands are some of the qualities that make these jobs age-friendly.

4. Advertising sales agent

Average hourly wage: $25.16

Most of the new jobs in this field are for internet and other types of digital advertising. That means you’ll need both the creativity to get customers’ attention and an understanding of where and how to find them online.

5. Secretary

Average hourly wage: $19.08

This traditional office job has gained new energy in recent years by adding the option to work from home. The typical duties of light administrative and clerical tasks are still the same but the added flexibility can give the job fresh appeal.

6. Human resources manager

Average hourly wage: $60.69

Low unemployment and the steady churn of workers switching jobs has raised the demand for human resources managers to help hire employees and get them settled in. Meaningful work and the opportunities to collaborate with coworkers are two characteristics that make HR manager jobs age-friendly.

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7. Proofreader

Average hourly wage: $22.12

These jobs often are freelance roles, which mean workers of all ages have flexibility and autonomy. While proofreaders do need to have an eye for detail, they do not necessarily have to have a degree or previous experience.

8. Insurance sales agent

Average hourly wage: $23.96

Insurance sales is one of the occupations on this list that offers some opportunities for remote work. And, because the demand for medical, automotive and homeowners insurance is consistent, the BLS projects that job openings in this field will grow at a steady 6 percent. 

9. Business agent

Average hourly wage: $55.97

Many business agents are lawyers because the job often requires them to serve as a legal stand-in for a business or client during negotiations. It’s a job that tends to lend itself to contract positions, but some agents have full-time staff positions.

10.  Insurance claims adjuster

Average hourly wage: $31.11

These jobs require good people skills and a knack for sifting through evidence to figure out what really happened in an accident and how much the insurance company should pay. It’s engaging work, though in some circumstances the caseloads can be demanding.

Least Age-Friendly Jobs

The National Bureau of Economic Research report also identified the 10 careers that are least age-friendly. Most of the jobs on that list landed there due to the amounts of physically demanding work they require.

The 10 jobs that are the least age-friendly:

  • Concrete and cement worker
  • Carpenter
  • Painter
  • Mason, tiler and carpet installer
  • Tool and die maker
  • Library technician
  • Chemist
  • Furniture and wood finisher
  • Chemical technician
  • Mixing and blending machine operator

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