Monday, May 11, 2009

Research: Second Careers for Older Workers

AARP's Public Policy Institute has published a research report examining the characteristics of workers who change careers in late life, finding, among other things that later-life career change seems to be an important part of the retirement process. According to "Older Workers on the Move: Recareering in Later Life", authored by Richard W. Johnson, Janette Kawachi, and Eric K. Lewis of The Urban Institute, nearly two-thirds of workers who change jobs (and 27% of all older workers) switch occupations.

Called such career changes "recareering," the study reports that workers who change careers typically move into jobs that pay less and offer fewer benefits. However, the new careers tend to offer more flexible work arrangements, less stressful working conditions, and fewer managerial responsibilities. For workers interested in delaying retirement after long careers, such jobs may be just what they are looking for. In addition, the study finds that late-life occupational change is more common among men because women are less likely to continue working if they leave an employer in their fifties.
The research concludes that later-life career change seems to be an important part of the retirement process. Many changers later in life appear to be pushed into new lines of work involuntarily following job layoffs or business closings. Others, however, appear to place a high premium on leaving 9-5 work and moving into more flexible positions, even at less pay. Some older workers may change careers in hopes of finding more meaningful jobs that give added purpose to their lives.
Source: AARP Public Policy Institute Research Report (May 2009)

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