If making a difference in your work is important to you, there just might be some good news ahead.
A new study projects that in the next 5 to 8 years, people over 55 will be needed to fill more than 5 million job vacancies. There will be more jobs available than people to fill them by 2018.
According to the study sponsored by the MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures,
- 14.6 million new nonfarm jobs will be created between 2008 and 2018 (that’s 15.3 million if you include the self-employed, family employees, and farm workers)
- Half of those jobs (almost 7 million) are expected to be in the social sector
- Of those social sector jobs, more than 5 million will be vacant – there will be no one to fill them!
Even with many older baby boomers retiring, there won’t be enough young people to fill all those vacant jobs.
The report does assume a few things – that we’ll see a return of economic growth, with no change in labor force participation rates, retirement rates, or immigration rates. But it doesn’t take into account anticipated growth in totally new areas such as “green” jobs, so the numbers may even be understated.
Jobs for Making a Difference
The social sector includes health care and social assistance, educational services, nonprofit organizations, performing arts, museums, and libraries. Jobs in the social sector allow you to make a difference by helping people in your own community.
I know for most of my career coaching clients, who are between 45 and 65, making a difference is important. They want encore careers that are rewarding, that will give them a sense of purpose, and that will directly impact others’ lives.
Some of the jobs projected to grow the most through 2018 are:
- Primary, secondary and special education teachers; teacher assistants
- Registered nurses
- Home health/home care aides
- Medical assistants
- General and operations managers, business operations specialists
- Child care workers
- Medical and health service managers
Other jobs mentioned in the study include social work, counseling, clergy, accounting, human resources, and food preparation/serving. It also looks like there will be a growing need for coaches and mentors, roles which are often well-suited to people with plenty of work/life experience.
I like that most of the social sector jobs listed in the study emphasize experience and common sense rather than heavy physical work. Plus with many of the jobs, you may be able to transfer your existing skills into new settings (for example, from large corporations or private companies into nonprofits, all levels of government, and smaller businesses).
More Flexible Jobs?
What I find especially exciting is that as the tide shifts, it will be in employers’ best interests to make jobs more attractive to older workers. That could mean more flexible work schedules, which would let you blend your life and work together in a way that suits you.
The year 2018 sounds so far away. Right now it’s hard to imagine just getting through this recession we’re in. But it’s good to know opportunities for making a difference are coming.
What are your thoughts about working in the social sector?