After two years of life during the coronavirus pandemic, more job seekers are taking control of their careers, looking for positions that meet their professional, financial and personal needs.
“The vaccine rollout has boosted confidence, businesses are growing, and after reevaluating their work-life goals many Americans are switching jobs in ‘The Great Resignation’,” says Andrew Hunter, co-founder of the job search engine Adzuna. “The number of advertised vacancies has ramped up and job seekers looking to change company, role, or career have a wide array of options to choose from.”
Adzuna recently analyzed the job postings on its website to identify the jobs that saw the largest increases in postings last year when compared to 2020. They found that jobs related to online shopping saw large spikes in demand. Positions in traditional business offices, such as receptionists and human resources, also saw growth.
Those findings match recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that show that there has been steady hiring in those fields over the final months of 2021. AARP looked at findings from reports from the BLS and Adzuna to find which jobs that might appeal to older workers are poised to continue bouncing back this year. The following list of 20 such jobs is presented in no particular order overall. Clicking to the link in the job title will take you to a list of relevant openings on the AARP Job Board. All wage data is from the BLS.
- Median hourly wage: $22.71
Online shopping has boomed, as people try to stay out busy stores. That means the demand for warehouse workers has spiked, too — by roughly 353 percent in 2021, according to Adzuna’s analysis. While you may not have to personally lift heavy objects, the work still can be physically demanding as employees work to keep up with incoming orders. Make sure you're up for the task before applying.
- Median hourly wage: $25.34
Tax season starts now. The economic stimulus laws passed during the past two years also have included tweaks to the tax code that could affect how people file their returns. That means there likely will be plenty of demand for preparers who are up to date on the changes to make sure that families are reporting their income accurately. With roughly 38 percent of workers being age 55 and older, this seasonal occupation also tends to be popular with older workers.
- Median hourly wage: $30.52
The pandemic has caused many people to re-evaluate their jobs leading many of them to switch careers, a phenomenon that has been dubbed the "Great Resignation." With so many workers saying sayonara, employers have turned to human resources professionals to help them find applicants that fit the company’s needs. Demand for recruitment consultants increased by 332 percent in 2021, according to the Adzuna report.
- Median hourly wage: $19.71
While the demand for secretaries is projected to shrink steadily over the next eight years, employers right now continue to seek workers to replace secretaries who have left their jobs. That demand can be good news for older adults because nearly 78 percent of secretaries are age 40 and older, and the average age for this profession is 48.
- Median hourly wage: $47.54
The omicron variant has postponed the return to the workplace for many employees of large companies, but the demand for office managers likely will continue to be strong in 2022. Because many employees in business and professional services can work from home, hiring has been steady in these fields throughout the pandemic. As employees return to workplaces, office managers will play key roles in easing everyone back.
- Median hourly wage: $17.23
These jobs can offer the appealing combination of flexible hours and the opportunity to work remote. You’ll need good people skills as you answer questions and help people resolve concerns. You’ll also need some technology skills because you log customers’ issues into a computer that provides you with prompts on how to respond to these concerns.
- Median hourly wage: $28.20
Roughly 39 percent of workers in this profession are age 55 and older, according to BLS data. The real estate market has flourished during the past two years as families moved, either for comfort or financial reasons. That activity means increased demand for appraisers and assessors.
- Median hourly wage: $30.22
Many construction projects were put on hold at the start of the pandemic to deter the spread of the coronavirus. Now developers are eager to get those projects completed. According to the BLS, construction has steadily added jobs over the last four months of 2021. Working as an inspector — which typically calls for some on-the-job training, in addition to the required state or local licenses—is one way older workers can take advantage of the opportunities in this field.
- Median hourly wage: $35.89
These writers prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other materials that help people pick and use devices and other products more effectively. Most workers in this profession, in which 45 percent of workers are age 55 and older, have at least a college degree. But if you have clips that prove you can write clearly and accurately, the job could be yours.
- Median hourly wage: Commensurate with experience
If you’re getting ready to ease into retirement, working as a consultant is one way you can earn senior-level income without having to commit full-time to the responsibilities of working in an office. And, if you have built a strong professional network during your career, many of your former colleagues or clients might be willing to offer you assignments to get you started in your career transition.
- Median hourly wage: $19.71
The move to remote work at some offices has made administrative assistants even more vital than they were before the pandemic. For example, someone must set up the videoconference meetings that teams rely on now, and that duty often is handled by assistants. The BLS, however, does project that the number of administrative assistant positions overall will decline by 7 percent by 2030. If you expect to be in the workforce then, it may be best to consider this occupation as an opportunity to move into other roles within the office.
12. Security guard
- Median hourly wage: $14.94
According to Adzuna’s analysis, job postings for security surged by more than 324 percent in 2021. Some of that increase may have been the result of the ways life has changed during the past two, with some guards being asked to check employees’ temperatures while others have been hired to deter potential flash mobs of robbers. Most security guards are expected to report potential problems, unruly customers or employees, to the proper authorities rather than resolve the problems themselves.
13. Delivery driver
- Median hourly wage: $22.66
Enjoy spending time behind the wheel? In addition to the large increase in warehouse workers, the online shopping boom also is raising the demand for delivery drivers. Amazon continues to hire many flex delivery drivers, an independent contractor position that could suit many older adults, and UPS continues to hire full-time drivers.
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- Median hourly wage: $14.96
Because clients and visitors need someone to greet them and fill them in on the COVID safety practices of a business when visiting in person, receptionists continue to be in demand. Job postings for this occupation grew by 229 percent in 2021, according to Adzuna’s analysis.
- Median hourly wage: $12.03
There has been high turnover in this occupation over the past two years, as many stores have seen big drop-offs in their numbers of in-person customers. While vaccines and high-quality masks are now readily available, many cashiers also have opted to quit their jobs rather than expose themselves to the risks of catching COVID. Still, if you’re looking for a part-time job with flexible hours and you're comfortable being around people, cashier could be a good fit.
16. Project manager
- Median hourly wage: $37.22
If you have experience turning ideas into finished products, this could be the right role for you. There are many opportunities for contract work ranging from a couple of weeks to a year. You’ll need strong communication and teamwork skills to make sure that everyone stays on task to complete the project.
- Median hourly wage: $20.39
This job, helping businesses keep track of their revenues and expenses, is a popular choice for older adults who are looking for flexible hours and opportunities to work remotely. According to the BLS, the median age for all bookkeepers in 2019 was 50.9 years old, one the highest among all professions.
- Median hourly wage: $13.02
While the life expectancy for the average American decreased by a year in 2021 (from 78.8 to 77.8 years), the fact generally remains that people are living longer now. That aging population has produced an increased demand for workers who can provide paid caregiving. People skills and compassion are some of the key skills required for these jobs, which typically only require a high school diploma along with brief on-the-job training.
- Median hourly pay: $27.21
Restaurant businesses have perhaps faced more ups and downs than any other type of business over the past two years. That means these businesses have a definite need now for managers who can create environments that customers feel comfortable returning to and staff feel safer working in. Adzuna’s analysis found that demand for restaurant managers grew 195 percent in 2021.
- Median hourly wage: $35.37
While accounting would seem to be a field that wouldn't see large swings in hiring from year to year, Adzuna's analysis found a 128 percent increase in job postings in this field during 2021. The increase in demand could be due to some accountants opting to switch careers during the Great Resignation.
Kenneth Terrell covers employment, age discrimination, work and jobs, careers, and the federal government for AARP. He previously worked for the Education Writers Association and U.S. News & World Report, where he reported on government and politics, business, education, science and technology, and lifestyle news.