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10 Promising Job Fields for Workers Over 50

New report lists 10 fields with highest demand for workers

spinner image Top 10 Promising Job Fields for Workers Over 50
A new AARP/IMPAQ International report lists the top 10 industries for older job seekers over the next three years.
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If you’re looking for a job or career change, there are 10 fields that will be hungry to hire, and older workers could be great fits for many of these openings, according to a report from AARP and IMPAQ International.

Many employers are “having trouble filling vacancies with qualified, well-trained workers,” says the report, which was published in 2017. That could translate into opportunities for workers over age 50. People in this group overall have relatively low levels of unemployment, but they are also more likely to face longer periods of unemployment after they lose a job. For employers and older job seekers, finding the right match could really be just a matter of looking in the right place, according to the report.

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The other key for older job seekers, the report states, is to look at occupations that make use of the skills they have already developed during their careers. “Among older workers making career changes, those who are able to make use of existing skills in their new job tend to be more successful.”

Here are the 10 occupations, in declining order, expected to have the largest labor shortages over the next few years. Clicking on the “Find jobs” link will take you to current postings for those occupations on the AARP Job Board.

1. Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners

Pharmacists, exercise physiologists, dietitians and nutritionists, therapists, podiatrists, optometrists, surgeons, orthodontists, dentists, and chiropractors are among the jobs in this group.  Many of these positions require extensive training and advanced degrees. As a result, many of the job openings are most likely to be filled by workers already in these fields, according to the AARP/IMPAQ report.

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2. Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing

Jobs in this category include sales representative, sales executive, sales consultant, sales agent, direct salesperson and technical sales representative. Nearly 10 percent of workers 50-plus are already working in this or a similar job. Demand for employees in these fields is expected to be particularly high in Colorado, Kansas and Maryland. Generally, these positions require at least two years of secondary education in the academic area of the product.

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3. Computer Occupations

These occupations include computer and information research scientists, computer system analysts, programmers, information security analysts, web and software developers, and computer user support specialists. Entry requirements vary from a vocational degree with on-the-job training to an advanced degree. This is one of the fields, the report says, that many workers over 50 may require additional training to work in.

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4. Advertising, Marketing, Promotions, Public Relations and Sales Managers

These jobs encompass advertising and promotions managers; managers for marketing, sales and fundraising; and public relations. Generally, these positions require at least a bachelor’s degree.

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5. Motor Vehicle Operators

Examples are ambulance drivers, bus drivers, sales drivers, heavy or tractor-trailer truck drivers, light-truck or delivery-services drivers, taxi drivers and chauffeurs. This field is one in which workers over age 50 are “already well prepared for,” according the report. For most of these jobs, a high school diploma and a few months of training are all that’s needed. But the average 2017 wage of $16.62 per hour was the lowest of the 10 fields with predicted shortages.

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6. Health Technologists and Technicians

This category includes jobs such as medical and clinical laboratory technologists/technicians, dental hygienists, radiologic technologists, and emergency medical technicians and paramedics. Many roles require extensive training and advanced degrees. The projected shortage for workers in these fields is predicted to be high in Minnesota and South Dakota.

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7. Engineers

Engineer job titles include aerospace, agricultural, biomedical, chemical, civil, computer hardware, electrical, environmental, industrial, materials, mechanical and petroleum. Of the 10 fields the report says will experience a shortage of qualified workers, this is the one with the highest hourly wage, at $38.46. Most of these positions require at least a bachelor’s degree, with many requiring advanced degrees and extensive training.

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8. Business Operations Specialists

These are positions such as claims adjusters, examiners and investigators; compliance officers; cost estimators; farm labor contractors; fundraisers; human resource specialists; insurance appraisers (auto damage); labor relations specialists; logisticians; and management analysts. Virtually all of these jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree, and most call for a master’s or some kind of post-bachelor’s certificate.

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9. Financial Specialists

Sample jobs are accountants and auditors, appraisers and assessors of real estate, budget analysts, credit analysts, financial analysts, personal financial advisers, insurance underwriters, financial examiners, credit counselors, loan officers and tax preparers. For almost all of these roles, at least a bachelor’s degree is needed. Many require a master’s or post-bachelor’s certificate.

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10. Operations Specialties Managers

Among the options in this category are financial managers and managers for administrative services, computer and information systems, industrial production, purchasing, transportation, storage, and distribution, compensation and benefits, human resources, and training and development. For these jobs, education requirements range from a high school diploma to postgraduate education.

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Editor’s Note: This article originally was published on October 9, 2017. It has been updated with links to current postings on the AARP Job Board.

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