Making a career change at 50 years or older can be a daunting decision because many people feel that it is a time-barred decision. This is despite a 2014 study by The Conference Board, which indicated that over half of American employees are unsatisfied with their current jobs. Although younger employees may easily make a career transition, staying at your current workplace until retirement may seem a better option if you are 50 years or older.
Finding a suitable career in California that could help you advance your career can be a success if you pay attention to the following steps when thinking about a career change at 50.
Reasons People Change Careers After 50
The need to make more income is likely to play a huge role in your decision to make a career change at 50. A survey by Flex Jobs in 2015 discovered that money was a major reason for many employees’ decision to source for a new job. Most of them believed that they would make more money and save on expenses if they had flexible jobs. Another survey in 2014 by the Economic Times revealed that 63 percent of employees would consider moving to a new career if it pays better than their current ones.
Lack of appreciation and recognition from your boss may also make you question your career’s future. The feeling is that your efforts at work have come to naught and that your skills could be useful in another industry. A CareerBuilder survey in 2014 indicated that 65 percent of working professionals felt unappreciated in their current workplaces. This compelled them to seek a career change.
A career change at 50 may also become a necessity when workplace stress sets in. These workplace stresses may result from the following circumstances:
- Poor workplace environment
- Heavy/light workload
- Lack of autonomy in decision making
- Lack of promotion
- Workplace conflicts
- Poor communication in the workplace
- Exposure of family member to work-related hazards
- Threats to personal safety e.g. harassment and violence
- Ambiguity about roles and responsibilities in the workplace
A survey by Forbes on 7,000 American workers in 2014 discovered that workplace stress forced 42 percent of these respondents to make a career change at 50.
The need for a career change may also arise from your desire for a flexible job that affords you a healthy work-life balance. It gives you the freedom to decide when you want to work without eating into your family time.
If you feel that your chances of advancing your career in the current industry are slim, then a career change might be a wise move. You might feel stifled and underused as your current job may not allow you to fully utilize your talents and skills. A survey in 2012 by Yahoo! Finance, and Parade showed that most working professionals in America feel that their industries offer limited career advancement opportunities.
Statistics On Over 50 Career Changes
The facts and figures on people who have made career changes at 50 in California are encouraging. A CareerBuilder article in 2015 notes that many new opportunities, which can provide a thrilling career experience for 50-year olds, have emerged in the job market in the past 5 years. These opportunities include cybersecurity, global relations, social media jobs, and financial regulation.
If you are skeptical of whether a career change at 50 is wise, results of a 2017 survey by the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) should fill you with optimism. Eighty-two percent of the survey’s respondents reported that their transition to a new job after 45 was a success. Another survey reveals that 86 percent of those in the business sector will continue working even after attaining their retirement age.
A survey by Career Challenge in 2008 shows how skepticism prevents a lot of people from taking the plunge into a new career. It reveals that 80 percent of working professionals contemplate switching to a new job but only 6 percent actualize these desires. Apart from thinking that a career switch at 50 is belated, you may decide to stay put at your current workplace for fear of a decrease in your salary by moving to a new profession.
Deciding If A Career Change Is What You Want
Making a career change at any stage of life is a big decision and it is even more so for those candidates over the age of 50. Starting a new career can involve a lot of decisions and can result in drastic changes for you and your family. It is not a decision that should be made lightly and you need to be as informed as possible so you know what to expect.
Could A New Job Be Enough?
Sit down and evaluate how your life has turned out in the past 20-30 years of your professional and family life. Have you achieved your life dreams by working in the same industry for many years? If this is not the case, you need to question whether a new job will push you towards your dreams. James Gonyea from Monster.com notes that you need to ask yourself these questions if you are to avoid the “I wish I had/had not” syndrome in the following years.
Choosing a new job not only depends on the professional skills and experience you possess but also your personality. You should list the pros and cons of every career option that you are considering. Doing this allows you to weigh these options and identify one that will be less burdening in the years to come. Depending on the merits and demerits of every option, you might find that a move to another industry/career is not the most befitting option for you.
Could New Challenges At Your Existing Job Be Enough?
Nancy Friedberg, president of Career Leverage, laments that most people who jump onto new careers do not consider the option of staying in the same industry but with a different role. For example, you could drop full-time employment and work as a consultant for your company. This would afford you a flexible time schedule that allows you to engage with other clients or pursue other activities. Other options that you could consider are self-employment, volunteering, part-time work, and temp work.
Investigate Your Options
The job market has changed dramatically in the last several years and odds are, it looks very different from the last time you looked for work. Changes in technology have changed what employers are looking for and the skills they are hiring for. Even the way we apply for jobs has changed with most jobs requiring online applications. It is important that you look for job advertisements in a variety of places and monitor the online job boards to see what is available.
Will You Need To Retrain?
Depending on the industry you have worked in, retraining or looking at a new skill-set may be a good option for you. It may also be the case that the skill-set you have simply needed to be refreshed so you can learn the newest trends. There are a variety of traditional jobs that have experienced changes in technology that can easily be trained and learned from online resources.
Will You Need To Start Again At Entry-Level?
If you are looking to move to a new industry completely, you will be competing with job candidates that are used to making a lot less than what you may need. Candidates that are new to a position and industry typically start at entry-level, regardless of their age.
Can You Afford That?
This is something that you have to evaluate before applying for positions. If you are moving to a new industry and position, you will most likely be taking a substantial pay cut to do so.
Deciding If You Need To Take On Additional Training Or Education
Switching to a new career will likely involve acquiring additional education or retraining in a new industry. This can be a lot to take on when you consider how busy your schedule already is and how much it may cost you to acquire more education and/or training.
Jobs For People Over 50 Without A Degree
In a 2013 article in Forbes Magazine, Lisa Gates notes that many employers will have reservations about recruiting someone who is over 50 years old but has no degree. This challenge becomes magnified in case the hiring manager is younger than you because he/she may think that it is too late for you to acquire the skills required in a new career you are eyeing.
However, worry not because you can find a lot of jobs that do not need a degree. A study by the Center for Recruitment Research in 2015 noted that many industries are recruiting older people because of their unique ability to connect with customers – and not necessarily because of the degrees they possess.
In the current job market, employers are often looking more for soft skills that can’t be trained such as work ethic, responsibility, and common sense. They are more and more willing to train on the technical skills of the job if you are bringing the highly valued personality traits to the job.
Jobs For People Over 50 With A Degree
There are also lucrative job opportunities in California for those over 50, which may require your expertise if you possess a relevant degree. A survey by AARP in 2015 identifies the following jobs as most suited for persons aged 50 with a degree:
- Language interpreter
- Patient advocate
- Fitness trainer
- Independent contractor
- Massage therapist
You can still undertake a training or academic program to acquire the relevant degree required for these professions. Either way, working in these professions is worth the time spent to acquire their degrees because of their immense growth prospects.
The Best Jobs For People Over 50 In California
California ranks 1st among all states for population in people over the age of 65. California also accounts for 10.8% of all workers over the age of 55 in the United States. Some of the top jobs for workers over the age of 50 include health practitioners, sales representatives, insurance agents, and investigators, motor vehicle operators such as bus drivers, financial representatives, and business operation specialists and operations managers.
Finding Employers In California With Good Track Records For Employees Over 50
One of the most challenging activities when changing careers at 50 is locating a company that prefers job applicants aged 50 and above. However, thanks to the AARP Employer Pledge Program, you can easily find such companies in various industries. Presently, the program includes 290 employers/members who have pledged that they value older workers and provide equal employment opportunities for all working ages. Visit AARP’s website to search for and find numerous organizations that are renowned for employing older workers in California.
Best Jobs For Men Over 50 In California
If you are a man aged 50 years or older, there are numerous job opportunities that can suit you. According to Laurence Shatkin, an expert on career issues, occupations, such as athletic trainers, instructional coordinators, and clinical counselors are renowned for employing male employees aged over 50 years old. You have a great opportunity to land any of these jobs considering that California boasts over 400 colleges, which will need these services.
Best Jobs For Women Over 50 In California
If you are a woman aged 50 years and above, occupations, such as home health aide and registered nurses (RN) might need your skills and experience. Indeed, a study in 2014 by Cross Country Staffing reveals that 53 percent of RNs are aged 50 years or older. Another study indicates that RNs and home health aides are one of the fastest-growing occupations – a trend that will continue until 2018.
Changing Your Career Pathway Is A Big Step No Matter Your Age
California provides the most job opportunities for persons aged 50 years or older in America. Ten percent of employees aged 50+ years in the U.S. work in California. This is encouraging evidence you can make a smooth career transition so long as you understand and identify suitable jobs for your skills and experience, in addition to improving your work-life balance.