Good news for experienced workers planning a career transition in 2013: Although charting a new career path after decades in a different field can be daunting, some professions are actually looking for people with well-rounded knowledge and experience.
According to Marci Alboher, author of The Encore Career Handbook -- How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life (Workman Publishing, January 2013) and vice president at Encore.org, a nonprofit aimed at helping people pursuing "encore careers," any type of role that involves coaching or mentoring can play to the strengths of more seasoned workers.
"People who are on the older side are attractive candidates to a lot of organizations," agrees Alexandra Levit, a workplace consultant and author of Blindspots: 10 Business Myths You Can't Afford to Believe. "They've got so many contacts to help get things done. They've got great management skills. By the time you're 45 or 50, you're able to cope with conflict and difficult situations."
Green Jobs -- Job opportunities in the growing green energy and environmental industries include solar power engineers, recycling facility managers, and energy auditors. "I don't think we're ever going to stop seeing demand for creative solutions to our energy problem," says Alboher. "People who have the right skills should certainly be thinking about green careers." The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2010, 3.1 million jobs in the United States were associated with the production of green goods and services.
Health Care -- As baby boomers age, emerging jobs like medication specialist and home modification specialist will help serve their needs. "These kinds of things make it easier for people to age in place," says Alboher. "There's a huge amount of expansion of roles that didn't exist years ago, where having experienced some health issues of your own and having compassion can help." A 2012 study released by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce predicts that demand for health care services will create 5.6 million new jobs by 2020.
Financial Advising -- A growing number of baby boomers need financial advice as they navigate retirement, estate planning, and other issues, and consulting an adviser from their own generation who speaks their language may put some of these boomers at ease. If you have a background in economics or finance, consider becoming a certified financial planner or other type of financial adviser. BLS expects 32 percent job growth for personal finance advisers between 2010 and 2020.
Education -- Workers who've amassed a lifetime of wisdom and knowledge are ideally suited for roles in traditional classrooms and online education programs, which are gaining popularity. According to the 2012 Survey of Online Learning, a collaboration between the Babson Survey Research Group and The College Board, more than 6.7 million students were taking at least one online course. In addition to college courses, "the whole idea of lifelong learning is going to create a whole new category of jobs around adult education," says Alboher. And as Levit adds, teaching online is "great for flexibility if you're in the twilight stage of your career."
Human Resources -- If you have experience managing a team or resolving personality issues, then consider putting those skills to use by working in human resources (also sometimes called the personnel department). From nonprofits and universities to staffing firms and government agencies, virtually every type of company employs human resources professionals to recruit and screen employees, manage payroll or benefits, or oversee training or mentoring programs. BLS predicts 21 percent job growth for human resources specialists between 2010 and 2020.
Entrepreneurship -- In addition to pursuing new career opportunities in industries that value their knowledge, experienced workers are also starting their own businesses. In fact, the 2012 Global Report of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, a joint venture between Babson College and the London Business School, found that the rate of entrepreneurship among 55 to 64 year olds in the United States was among the highest in the world. "People are going to be moving into entrepreneurship and self-employment both by desire and necessity," says Alboher. "Many people are coming up with some idea to meet a need in their community that has to do with an aging population or health issues."
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