Retired, but working. Does that describe you? It’s a living reality for people working full or part time while they are enrolled in Medicare and perhaps even Social Security.
The number of people aged 55 to 74 in the workplace jumped 30% in the first decade of this century, grew 20% more from 2010 to 2020, and is expected to rise by 7.7% more in the following decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The presence of people 75 and older at work is growing, too. Although a small share of the labor force, the segment is projected to nearly double in size between 2020 and 2030.
For senior workers who are done with the workplace but not done with work, it’s an opportune moment. Remote work is plentiful. Besides pandemic-caused vacancies, a shortage of working-age people indicates that the trend appears set to continue.
Age discrimination has not disappeared, but seniors with long experience and deep skills are valued by many employers, says Margaret Shaw Lilani, VP of Talent Solutions at UpWork, a marketplace for freelancers.
We asked UpWork and FlexJobs, a website that posts pre-screened remote, hybrid and flexible jobs, to point out the best fully remote positions for retirees. Their recommendations follow.
Also, check out “What Kind of Remote Jobs Are Best for Retirees?”
Bookkeeping is one of the “top” skills that you can bring to the freelance job market, says Lilani, of UpWork.
Remote work in accounting and finance can help an ambitious freelancer build their own small business, according to Flexjobs.
Freelancing, with its flexibility and independence, can be ideal for retirees. At online marketplaces like FlexJobs and UpWork, you’ll find a range of options, from full-time staff jobs to part-time work and one-off gigs.
Freelance pay rates vary widely, depending on the skills required, the job category and your experience.
2. Executive assistant
Working remotely as an executive assistant can entail plenty of independence and flexibility, says Lilani.
It’s a job for someone well-organized and on-track, with a professional persona and attention to detail — perhaps a former stay-at-home parent, for example, who presents their credentials well.
“It’s really all about how people present themselves,” Lilani says.
3. Sales representative
“Everybody wants to hire salespeople right now,” Lilani says.
It may not matter what category of sales your experience is in. “A good salesperson can sell you a car, this pen, software. It’s really about the skill set they have,” she adds.
A recent search for “sales” positions at FlexJobs produced more than 8,000 job listings.
4. Copy editing and proofreading
There is plenty of work, it appears, for retirees with a background in editorial work.
A recent search for 100% remote proofreader jobs at FlexJobs produced 531 job postings. FlexJobs had another 687 postings for fully remote copy editor jobs.
These jobs — checking facts, grammar and spelling — are the critical backbone of content production and publishing of all sorts and typically require experience or training.
5. Customer support representative
Customer support can be a company’s human face for customers. “The skills a retiree is going to bring are skills they already have; It’s talking with people, it’s solving problems,” says UpWork’s Lilani.
“We know it’s likely that retirees will face some hesitation about freelancing because there is an assumption it’s just the big-tech companies that are hiring remote workers and you’ll need cutting-edge tech skills,” Lilani adds. “In fact, our research is showing there are many non-tech industries (including retail, manufacturing and food services) that have increased demand for remote help.”
6. Language translator
“Businesses really need a lot of translation help. It’s really hard to hire people,” Lilani says.
A quick glance at UpWork and Flexjobs reveals demand for workers fluent in at least two languages. Among them: Castilian Spanish, Mandarin, Estonian, American Sign Language, Marshallese, Basque, Vietnamese, Polish, Japanese, Bengali, Finnish and French.
Other translation experts offer skills in medical translation, legal translation and technical fields.
7. Recruiting and talent acquisition
Recruiting is a major skill and a field offering plenty of opportunity, says UpWork’s Lilani. It’s no secret that employers are under great pressure today to staff their workplaces with talent they need to stay competitive.
A background in recruiting, human resources or even sales might get you started, she says. Even recruiting, which used to be a full-time office job, can be done remotely.
“We have so much opportunity for writers on our platform — for ghostwriting, blog writing, article writing. Rather than being paid by the hour in many cases, you are paid by the article,” says Lilani.
If you’re a writer, you’ll want to post examples of your published work along with your profile or application at a jobs marketplace.
According to FlexJobs, the work demands a strong background in both writing and research. Writers with expertise in particular subject areas may be able to command higher pay.
Many writing jobs, including technical writing work, also require skill in interviewing subject matter experts.
9. Marketing consultant
People with marketing experience and expertise are in high demand at Flexjobs. A recent search there for “marketing” and “remote” brought up over 9,000 job opportunities.
At UpWork, categories in the marketing field can include search engine specialists, social media managers, email marketers, marketing analysts and market researchers. Each category can include many varied skills, and sales and marketing jobs may overlap.
Do you live on social media? See if you can translate that experience into a job. One way to get started: Check into the skills that successful social media managers at UpWork have included in their profiles.