Why Older Workers Shouldn’t Fear Career Change Resources

It used to be that Americans nearing retirement age would take “bridge jobs,” or relatively low-paying part-time gigs that would ease the transition into no longer working. But as Steve Vernon reports for CBS Money Watch, many people between the ages of 45 and 65 are now going a step further and pursuing second careers — and what’s more, they’re succeeding.

According to a recent American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) survey, 82 percent of older workers who attempt second careers are able to make the transition. In addition, 90 percent of those able to reinvent themselves rate their moves as successful. Many are following their passions and feeling less stressed, and while second-act gigs often involve taking pay cuts, half of the survey respondents said they made more money over time.

As CBS reports, those AIER survey respondents who successfully embarked on second careers generally did so not by learning completely new skills, but rather by building on ones they’d used in their previous endeavors. What’s more, they tended to excel in six key areas: problem solving, interpersonal communication, public communication, reading comprehension, customer service, and basic computer skills.

Interestingly, few of the job changers used conventional strategies like taking online classes, receiving grants or scholarships, networking via LinkedIn, or volunteering their way to full-time positions.

However older Americans are forging and succeeding with second careers, Vernon sees the AIER findings as good news. Unlike bridge jobs, second careers allow people to delay drawing down retirement resources and continue receiving insurance benefits, and research suggests that working into old age has health benefits. And because 47 percent of Americans say they’ll retire later than they previously thought, the findings are especially encouraging.

“It appears that many employers are hiring older workers, countering a commonly held belief that age discrimination exists and that it prevents many older people from being hired,” writes Vernon.

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