Getting the Job You Want After 50: Hot Industries to Consider

By Kerry Hannon

Copyright © 2015 AARP. All rights reserved.

One way to conduct your job search after 50 is to focus on the hottest job markets — industries that have reported rising numbers of vacancies or have projected an increasing need for employees. Here, you find five sizzling sectors to consider.

Healthcare

The aging population and longer life expectancies are spurring a wide range of healthcare-related jobs. In fact, for the period 2012 to 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that industries related to healthcare will generate the most new jobs, about 5 million.

New jobs are cropping up all the time for people in their 50s, 60s, and 70s that cater to people in their 80s and 90s. The jobs can run the gamut from repairing gurneys and wheelchairs at a hospital to transcribing medical records at a physician’s office.

Look for jobs at public and private hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities, and individual and family services. Specific jobs to explore in the sector include dietitian and nutritionist, patient advocate, personal and home healthcare aide, massage therapist, physical therapist (and aide/assistant), registered nurse or licensed/practical nurse, nurse practitioner, school nurse, paramedical examiner (screening individuals applying for life or healthcare insurance), senior fitness trainer, skincare specialist, home modification professional, medical equipment maintenance and repair, and medical records administrator.

Financial

As boomers slide into their retirement years, they’re increasingly seeking help with managing their money, whether it’s bill paying, estate planning, or choosing the right insurance policy. There’s growing awareness that people need to have financial plans in place to help avoid outliving their savings.

Moreover, as traditional employer-provided pensions are being replaced by do-it-yourself IRAs, 401(k)s, and similar plans, demand is on the rise among all age groups for experts who can make sense of retirement investment. Little wonder that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts job growth in the financial activities arena to rise about 10 percent in the next decade.

Jobs to explore in the sector include accountant, personal financial adviser and planner, insurance broker, retirement coach, bookkeeper, financial manager, and tax preparer.

Leisure and hospitality

Given the snowballing number of retiring workers, demand for travel and leisure activities has surged. A recent Manpower survey found that 23 percent of employers in this field were planning to take on more workers in the first quarter of 2014. The BLS sees long-term growth, too: about 1.3 million new jobs between 2012 and 2022.

Jobs to explore in the sector include barber and hairdresser, cosmetologist, casino worker, caterer, chef, cruise line worker, landscaper, pet sitter/walker, recreation worker, resort worker, tour worker, bartender, waiter, and hotel shuttle van driver.

Retail

It’s not exactly shop ‘til you drop, but most experts predict that the rising population will translate to a greater demand for workers in the retail trade.

Jobs to explore in the sector include cashier, customer service representative, package preparer, e-commerce analyst, direct salesperson, retail salesperson, sales representative, and product demonstrator.

Professional and business services

Jobs in this sector are forecasted to grow by nearly 20 percent — roughly 3.5 million new jobs between 2012 and 2022. Jobs to explore in this sector include grant/proposal writer; green-business consultant; human resource specialist; information security analyst; database administrator; management consultant; market research specialist; meeting, convention, and event planner; and translator/interpreter.

Spanish is the most in-demand language, but other languages are increasingly needed, such as Arabic. Specializing in translating in a particular field, such as the judicial system or healthcare, and knowing its special terminology increase your job opportunities.

Cast a wide net. Seek out openings at small businesses and big corporations.

If looking at the hottest industries didn’t spark any ideas, try narrowing your focus to these fastest-growing occupations (according to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook).

Occupation Growth Annual Salary
Industrial-organizational psychologists 53% $83,580
Personal care aides 49% $19,910
Home health aides 48% $20,820
Insulation workers 47% $39,170
Interpreters and translators 46% $45,430
Diagnostic medical sonographers 46% $65,860
Helpers for brick masons, block masons, stonemasons, and tile
and marble setters
43% $28,220
Occupational therapy assistants 43% $53,240
Genetic counselors 41% $56,800
Physical therapist assistants 41% $52,160
Physical therapist aides 40% $23,880
Skincare specialists 40% $28,640
Physician assistants 38% $90,930
Segmental pavers 38% $33,720
Helpers for electricians 37% $27,670
Information security analysts 37% $86,170
Occupational therapy aides 36% $26,850
Health specialties teachers, postsecondary 36% $81,140
Medical secretaries 36% $31,350