AARP Eye Center
A new year means new opportunities, and that's especially true for workers who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are some reasons to think that hiring could increase in 2021 in a number of positions that are popular with older workers.
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In early March, AARP used data from PayScale to determine the 25 best part-time jobs for retirees. Then, just a few weeks later, most of the nation shut down temporarily to deter the spread of the coronavirus. By the end of April, more than 20 million people had lost their jobs, including many who worked in the occupations that made the list of jobs for retirees.
But many of those fields could be poised to bounce back in 2021 as more people are vaccinated against COVID-19. In fact, some of these jobs will be very important to helping the nation return to business as usual. We took another look at that list of the best part-time jobs for retirees to identify the 10 that could present the most hiring opportunities in 2021.
The following list is ranked according to which occupations tend to employ the highest share of older workers, based on data from PayScale surveys. (Median wage data also was provided by PayScale.)
1. School bus driver
Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 73 percent
Median hourly pay: $16.96
When schools switched to remote learning last spring, the immediate impact for students, families and teachers was apparent. One group that got less attention was the legion of school bus drivers responsible for getting children to and from school. According to the Amalgamated Transit Union, which includes many school bus drivers among its members, roughly 65 percent (13,000 drivers) were furloughed during the pandemic.
Because nearly three-quarters of school bus drivers are 55 and older, those furloughs hit older adults especially hard. But many of those jobs could come back in 2021, as more school districts return to in-person classes in the spring and fall.
Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 33 percent
Median hourly pay: $12.94
This was one of the many office positions that switched to working from home in 2020. As more businesses reopen to their employees in 2021, hiring for secretaries could pick up. But be warned: This occupation has been shrinking in general, so it may not offer the most job security if you're seeking a role that's secure for the next five to 10 years.
3. Office manager
Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 30 percent
Median hourly pay: $17.26
Office managers could have an especially busy 2021, as more companies bring their employees back to the workplace after letting them work remotely for most of 2020. In addition to their traditional role of coordinating administrative services to make sure everything runs efficiently, some office managers could also serve as leaders who keep all employees informed about COVID-19 safety policies and practices. It could be a challenging job, but also one that experienced workers are well-suited to handle.