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15 Growing Jobs for Older Workers

Hiring is on the rise in these careers that are popular with people age 50 and over

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If you’re looking to set the wheels in motion on a second career, you might want to consider getting behind the wheel. Whether it’s driving for a shuttle service, school district or public transit system, there will be a boom in demand for bus drivers over the next eight years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That’s good news for older adults because those are also the jobs that tend to employ lots of people age 50 and older. In fact, a quick look at 2021 BLS data reveals 15 careers that are projected to increase their hiring by 2030 and for which the median age of workers last year was 50-plus.

The following list ranks those careers according to which occupations are projected to have the most growth in hiring during the next eight years. In cases where there was a tie in job growth, the higher-ranking job was the one with the higher median age.

1. Chauffeurs and shuttle drivers

Median age: 56.2

Median hourly pay: $14.42

2030 job growth outlook: 15 percent increase

The BLS puts this job in their “Bright Outlook” category, meaning it’s one of the fields where the agency expects to see lots of hiring for the rest of this decade. For older adults, who often have decades of experience behind the wheel and have mastered traffic and shortcuts for their city’s roadways, working as a chauffeur is a natural fit. The flexible hours are appealing, too.

2. School bus drivers

Median age: 55.6

Median hourly pay: $18.23

2030 job growth outlook: 15 percent increase

This job has long been a popular option for older workers. In part, that’s because the schedule — typically a few hours in the morning and then a few hours again in the afternoon — favors reliable workers who only want a part-time gig. But many of these drivers also enjoy the fulfillment they get from helping children learn and grow.

3. Transit bus drivers

Median age: 53.3

Median hourly pay: $23.37

2030 job growth outlook: 15 percent increase

Higher pay, full-time hours and the option to work weekend and other shifts are the big differences for driving a bus for public transportation rather than a school district. The other difference, of course, is the age of the riders, which can make driving a city bus more or less challenging, depending on your preferences.

4. Crossing guards

Median age: 57.6

Median hourly pay: $15.12

2030 job growth outlook: 13 percent increase

This is the job on this list with the highest median age. Because many of these employees work at busy intersections near schools, the role often offers hours like those for a school bus driver. That means you’ll have flexibility at midday.

5. Laundry and dry-cleaning workers

Median age: 50.4

Median hourly pay: $13.63

2030 job growth outlook: 12 percent increase

Many workers in this field lost jobs during the pandemic, because when people started to work remotely, the demand for fresh-pressed office wear dropped. Now, with more workers returning to offices, these businesses are projected to go on a hiring spree soon.

6. Medical secretaries and administrative assistants

Median age: 50.3

Median hourly pay: $18.01

2030 job growth outlook: 10 percent increase

There may be fewer job opportunities in the future for business office secretaries, but the demand for medical secretaries is growing quickly. The job responsibilities are similar, though medical secretaries also have to help with insurance forms and managing patient appointments.

7. Facilities managers

Median age: 50.2

Median hourly pay: $47.08

2030 job growth outlook: 9 percent increase

These workers are responsible for the maintenance and development of a building and its surrounding grounds. That means wearing many different hats, because the duties can range from coordinating construction and renovation projects to supervising landscaping crews and window washers.

8. Chief executives

Median age: 51.6

Median hourly pay: $47.59

2030 job growth outlook: 8 percent increase

In most cases, it takes a lot of experience to be the executive in charge of any business. For that reason, it’s no surprise that this high-paying field is one of the occupations with higher shares of older workers.

9. Stationary engineers and boiler operators

Median age: 52.7

Median hourly pay: $30.53

2030 job growth outlook: 6 percent increase

The primary duty in these jobs is operating the steam engines that power the machines used in manufacturing and other industries. Although the title says “engineer,” most workers in this field do not have a college degree. The main requirement is proper certification and licensing through state agencies.

10. Housekeepers and janitorial supervisors

Median age: 50.3

Median hourly pay: $19.05

2030 job growth outlook: 6 percent increase

Housekeeping and janitorial services play an essential role in making offices, hotels and other businesses welcoming to employees and clients. The value of these workers grew even larger during the past two years, as the COVID-19 pandemic increased the attention paid to keeping shared spaces clean.

11. Travel agents

Median age: 52.1

Median hourly pay: $21.06

2030 job growth outlook: 5 percent increase

While many people book their own travel online, there is still demand for travel agents who can help people make the most of their vacations or business trips. In particular, many hotel chains are now hiring agents to help customers make reservations.

12. Property appraisers and assessors

Median age: 50

Median hourly pay: $29.49

2030 job growth outlook: 4 percent increase

While the pandemic boom in people moving into more comfortable homes has slowed considerably, there will always be a need for home appraisals. These positions also tend to offer part-time hours and flexibility, making them a good fit for many older adults.

13. Judges

Median age: 53.1

Median hourly pay: $61.88

2030 job growth outlook: 3 percent increase

This is the job on this list with the highest hourly wage, for a good reason. It’s a very hard job to get because most judges are either appointed or elected — conditions that can be hard to meet unless you have years of impressive experience as a lawyer.

14. Clergy

Median age: 50.6

Median hourly pay: $23.90

2030 job growth outlook: 3 percent increase

Many people who choose a career in the clergy stay in the field their entire lives, which is one reason there are many older adults in this profession. But it’s also not uncommon for people who have spent most of their working years in other professions to switch later in life to a career they find more spiritually fulfilling.

15. Religious workers

Median age: 52

Median hourly pay: $18.03

2030 job growth outlook: 2 percent increase

This category is for people who do religious work but not necessarily in a church. Some examples would be a chaplain at a college, university or hospital; home health care workers who provide religious services; and those who work for religious or social advocacy organizations.

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.

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