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20 Jobs That Will Be in Demand in 2024

Older workers can expect strong hiring in the new year for these careers

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Older workers looking for new jobs have reasons to be optimistic about 2024. Entering the year, the unemployment rate nationwide continues to be very low, measuring 3.7 percent at the end of November for people of all ages and 2.9 percent for people 55 and older. Those low numbers mean businesses will have to compete harder to hire and keep workers, which often translates into higher salaries, more flexibility and better benefits. 

To identify which jobs will see the most demand for workers in 2024, AARP looked at U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections on the prospects for various careers from now until 2032 to see which fields appear to offer promising opportunities for older workers. The analysis found a range of professions suitable for different types of work experience. Overall, jobs related to online shopping — from website design to package delivery — earned the most spots on this list.

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The following 20 jobs are expected to be in high demand in 2024. Though most jobs on the list were chosen based on BLS projections, some jobs were selected based on Google data of occupations that received the most search queries in recent years. The list is presented in alphabetical order. All wage data is from the BLS. Clicking on the “Find” link will take you to the list of current job postings in that profession on the AARP Job Board.

Animal caretaker

Average hourly wage: $14.32

Long-term job growth: 15 percent

Find animal caretaker jobs 

Nearly half of U.S. households (45 percent) own at least one dog and 29 percent own at least one cat, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Many of these furry family members will need some type of boarding or pet-sitting at least occasionally, which means there will be steady demand for animal caretakers.

Counselor for mental health, behavioral disorders or substance abuse

Average hourly wage: $23.90

Long-term job growth: 19 percent

Find mental health jobs

According to a 2022 CNN/KFF survey, 9 out of 10 adults said there is a mental health crisis in the United States. Hiring demand for mental health counselors seems to support that concern. Job opportunities range from working in community centers to owning a private practice. Depending on the position, you may need a master’s degree and a state license.

Data entry clerk

Average hourly wage: $18.26

Long-term job growth: 4 percent decline

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The BLS projects that the number of jobs in this field will shrink slightly over the next decade, mostly due to technologies that can help businesses fill these duties. But in the short term, interest in these jobs — which spiked during the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic — remains quite high, according to Google searches. The work-from-home positions common in this field could make these roles good short-term jobs for people looking for additional income.

Data scientist

Average hourly wage: $49.76

Long-term job growth: 35 percent

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Businesses are always looking for ways they can be more efficient, and in many cases, data scientists are the employees who help them figure out how. By combing through the numbers on sales, clients, expenses and other areas, data scientists offer insights on how to make the business run smoother. Most people in this position have a bachelor’s degree in math, statistics or computer science.

Delivery truck driver

Average hourly wage: $18.38

Long-term job growth: 10 percent

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According to a MasterCard SpendingPulse study, online shopping during the 2023 holiday season grew by 6.3 percent over the same period last year. That boom in cybershopping means that demand for delivery drivers continues to grow. The flexible, part-time hours make these positions a good fit for older workers, but keep in mind that you may have to lift packages on a regular basis.

E-commerce website designer

Average hourly wage: $38.81

Long-term job growth: 16 percent

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Though most of the large retailers have already carved out their space online, many smaller businesses are still building their e-commerce websites. That means there’s a steady demand for developers. In addition to the BLS projection of 16 percent job growth, Google saw a 140 percent increase in searches for e-commerce website designers during the past year.

Financial manager

Average hourly wage: $67.21

Long-term job growth: 16 percent

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It’s probably fitting that this profession has the highest hourly wage of all the jobs on this list because making a business’s money grow is the primary role of a financial manager. Most of these managers work in the financial industry for banks, insurance companies and investment firms. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in a business- or economics-related field, you’ll likely need work experience as an accountant or financial analyst to land one of these jobs, according to the BLS.

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General and operations manager

Average hourly wage: $59.07

Long-term job growth: 4 percent

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From restaurants to professional services, many businesses rely on managers to make the decisions that keep the doors open. Most employers prefer applicants who have a business degree, but in many cases, if you have relevant experience and skills, you could get hired.

Health services manager

Average hourly wage: $50.40

Long-term job growth: 28 percent

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While doctors and nurses focus on keeping you in top shape, their health services managers are busy making sure their health centers and hospitals operate smoothly. The duties range from ordering new equipment and supplies to coordinating marketing and other outreach. Though health services managers typically have a bachelor’s degree, relevant work experience may be enough for some positions.

Home health care aide

Average hourly wage: $14.51

Long-term job growth: 22 percent

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Though home health care jobs can be emotionally and physically demanding, they also can offer a sense of purpose and personal connection. Perhaps that’s why these roles are popular with older workers, with 49 as the average age for all workers in this field, according to the BLS. The hours tend to be part-time and flexible, though once you establish a routine with a client, it’s generally preferred that you keep it consistent.

Management analyst

Average hourly wage: $45.81

Long-term job growth: 10 percent

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Also known as management consultant, this role can be a great fit for older workers with the right experience and skills. In addition to using your knowledge and insights to help businesses become more successful, you may have opportunities for frequent travel — expenses covered — to meet with clients. The BLS projects that there will be 92,900 openings for management analysts each year.

Market research specialist

Average hourly wage: $32.80

Long-term job growth: 13 percent

Find jobs in marketing

Every successful business keeps an eye on its competition. That role is filled by market research analysts, who track changes in consumer tastes, new technologies and other factors to help companies make smarter decisions about how to make the most of opportunities. Though market research analysts typically have relied on surveys, in-person focus groups and other reports, some of these workers are starting to get an assist from artificial intelligence technology.

Medical assistant

Average hourly wage: $18.40

Long-term job growth: 14 percent

Find medical assistant jobs 

Chances are you may have mistaken a medical assistant for a nurse at some point. These workers, who often are your first contact at a health clinic or hospital, help you fill out your forms, schedule your appointments and, in some cases, might take your vital signs. Unlike nurses, who must earn a degree or license, medical assistants can work with either a certificate or on-the-job training. That makes this job a good first step if you’re thinking about switching to a health care career.

Registered nurse

Average hourly wage: $39.05

Long-term job growth: 6 percent

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There are more than 3 million registered nurses working in the United States, and the demand for these workers keeps growing. You can enter the field with an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing or a diploma from an approved nursing program. You’ll also need a license in the state in which you will work. If you’re already working as an RN, you might want to consider becoming a nurse practitioner. The number of jobs in that discipline is projected to grow by 44 percent, and nurse practitioners earn roughly $40,000 more per year than registered nurses.

Restaurant cooks

Average hourly wage: $14.86

Long-term job growth: 20.4 percent

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If you’ve mastered your own kitchen, maybe it’s time to go professional. According to a Yelp study, the restaurant industry is bouncing back from the closures that happened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the openings from April 2022 to March 2023, ramen restaurants saw a surge in growth (45 percent), followed by breakfast and brunch spots (20 percent), sushi (13 percent) and steak houses (9 percent).

Software developer

Average hourly wage: $59.71

Long-term job growth: 25 percent

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Software is the secret ingredient that makes all our devices run, from smartphones to electric vehicles. It makes sense then that software developer is one of the most in-demand professions. Most employers will want applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field, but years of experience in a related industry may be considered for some positions.

Stocker and order filler

Average hourly wage: $17.09

Long-term job growth: 6 percent

Find stocker jobs

Large online retailers such as Amazon and Walmart can get your packages to you quickly because they maintain nationwide networks of warehouses to make sure you’re never too far away from the goods you want. Those warehouses need people like you to prepare orders for delivery. These jobs can be physically demanding, but they offer part-time work with a variety of shifts.

Tractor-trailer truck drivers

Average hourly wage: $24

Long-term job growth: 4 percent

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Instead of seeing the country in an RV during your retirement, what about seeing it from the seat of a big rig? The job typically requires being away from home for extended periods, but drivers often can choose which jobs they’d like. That work-when-you-want freedom could be a good fit for some older adults. Although you won’t generally have to do the heavy lifting of loading and unloading, you will need a commercial driver’s license, which typically means earning a diploma from a truck-driving school.

Ultrasound technician

Average hourly wage: $37.60

Long-term job growth: 10 percent

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Ultrasound images are mostly associated with the progress of pregnancies, but the technology also is used to check the health of the heart, breasts and internal organs. Demand for technicians is steady, and you can train for this career with either an associate degree or a postsecondary certificate.

Umpire, referee or sports official

Average hourly wage: $17.31

Long-term job growth: 10 percent

Looking for a part-time job that keeps you physically and socially active? Refereeing a sports league can be an exciting way to work a few hours per week while engaging with players, coaches and fans. Though training in officiating is required for most leagues, a background in a variety of sports often is good enough to get started.

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