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Older Job Seekers May Find Better Pay but Fewer Benefits

Health care and retirement plans are less common in ads aimed at older workers

A piggy bank with coins and blocks that spell out 401K

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En español | As shutdowns caused by the pandemic ease, new research suggests that jobs generally available to older workers may pay better but may not come with benefits, according to a report from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College (CRR).

CRR researchers compared 2019 job listings aimed at older people on with postings on job-marketplace websites for workers of all ages. A representative sample of the nearly 233,000 jobs listed showed that the positions advertised through paid an average of $43,800, compared with just $37,900 for jobs posted elsewhere for people of all ages. Additionally, 62 percent of openings advertised for older workers were full-time positions, but that was true of just 35 percent of the all-ages postings.

A big negative for older people, though, was that only 34 percent of ads on the RetirementJobs site mentioned benefits, compared with 47 percent of listings posted elsewhere for all workers. Just 22 percent of the ads aimed at older workers mentioned health benefits, compared with 37 percent overall, and 16 percent mentioned retirement benefits, compared with 29 percent of all-ages listings.

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"While jobs available to older workers may offer good opportunities for workers seeking bridge jobs to retirement, they may not offer good solutions for workers seeking retirement saving plans or health insurance,” the study concluded.

Workers age 65 and older can rely on Medicare coverage, but they may miss out on an employer match to augment their retirement savings. On the other hand, working past age 65 may help them stretch whatever amount they've already set aside.

"The primary function of employment is to delay tapping ‘retirement’ assets — namely, Social Security benefits and 401(k) balances,” CRR Director Alicia H. Munnell explained via email. “Compensation sufficient to cover much or all of the worker's current consumption needs is the primary financial value of a ‘retirement job.’ “

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