If you’re job searching and having a career change after 60, there’s no doubt you’re facing unique challenges. It’s still considered the “age of retirement,” but why should it? With life expectancy and health outcomes for older Americans improving, chances are you’re happy to keep working well past your 60s. For others, the strange economy may be forcing your hand. In either case, let’s look at some special considerations for transition jobs when job searching after 60.
J.P. Morgan’s 2023 Guide to Retirement offers some fascinating perspectives. More people now work later in life, not necessarily because they “have to.” Instead, here’s the breakdown of the reasons they give:
- 52% work to stay active and involved.
- 38% quite simply enjoy working.
- 27% work so that they can “buy extras.”
- 24% want to delay dipping into their “nest egg” longer.
- 22% work because they were presented with the right job opportunity.
Fewer than one-fifth of J.P Morgan’s respondents worked past retirement age for necessity, including to make ends meet, keep insurance or benefits, or support other family members. If you see yourself in the majority who choose to work with transition jobs and are job searching after 60 and having a career change at 60 on your own terms, congratulations!
However, a job search later in your career isn’t for the faint of heart. J.P. Morgan also found that while 69% of workers planned to work past 65, only 34% actually do. Most were forced into retirement due to health problems or disability, downsizing/reduction in force, COVID-19 fears, and the lack of skills.
You have options if you feel that you were forced into retirement earlier than you wanted. Retirement doesn’t have to be a permanent condition. Let’s dig deeper.
Setting the Stage Financially
We’re not in the business of giving personal financial advice, but it’s essential you consult with someone who is. Taking unemployment, dipping into savings or retirement, and figuring out how it all affects Social Security benefits and taxes while on the job hunt for transition jobs? It’s a delicate balancing act. U.S. News and World Report offers tips that might be helpful.
Medicare may also come into play. If you lose your job past age 65, you may think you know the drill: simply sign up for the COBRA plan offered until you figure things out. But that could be a costly mistake. As AARP explains more in-depth here, when you part ways with an employer sponsoring your health insurance plan, and you’re 65 or older, Medicare becomes your primary coverage whether you have COBRA or not. At that point, if you haven’t signed up for both Medicare Part A and Part B, you could face expensive coverage gaps.
When deciding on benefits at a new job, you’ll want to determine how Medicare interacts with their insurance plan. That’s not something most workers need to worry about, so it may catch HR off-guard, but it’s important at this stage.
The Role of Transition Jobs
A forced transition is gut-wrenching, which we explore in the previous post, Rebuilding Career Confidence as an Exec (spoiler alert: much of the advice isn’t just for execs). It’s vital to acknowledge your feelings and then process them constructively, treat your job search like a job and measure your inputs and outputs, and consider new paths and possibilities.
“Stop to consider that younger professionals may be securing the jobs you want not necessarily because of ageism (although that can certainly be a factor) but perhaps because they’re more open to new possibilities and opportunities,” we suggest. “You might chalk that up to ignorance. But is ignorance, in this case, bad?”
These possibilities include contract work opportunities. Independent contracting, long-term contracts, contract-to-hire, temping, and even interim and fractional executive positions are popular with employers in uncertain economic times. They’re also great options for transition jobs for those job searching after 60 and having a career change at 60, particularly those wanting to try something new or work fewer hours or with fewer long-term obligations than before.
These aren’t “gigs” like Uber or DoorDash with more risks than rewards. Many of these contract arrangements include reliable schedules and benefits. A few considerations:
- If you’ve reached a level in your career where consulting is a reasonable consideration, independent contracting could be a great option. However, searching for clients and networking can be tricky. And, as an independent contractor, you need to be able to prove that your work is not beholden to just one client. Resources like The HT Group Advisory Services can bridge that gap, bringing experienced advisors and consultants together with clients needing services.
- Temporary contract and contract-to-hire jobs are popular, particularly in industries like tech. You can be a temporary contractor (filling in for someone on leave or working on a one-off project, for instance) or have a contract-to-hire or temp-to-hire arrangement (with an option to hire you as a permanent employee after a certain amount of time, usually dictated by your fit as a team member, the success of the project, or continued funding).
- Temping can result in surprisingly steady engagements and even employee benefits and compensation (if you work through a reputable agency like The HT Group). It’s an excellent option when switching careers or roles because it often comes with valuable training. The American Staffing Association reports 9 out of 10 temps said staffing work made them more employable.
- Interim executive and fractional executive work are great options for exec-level job seekers. CEO exits reached their highest-ever rate last year, as did other C-level exits. This is leaving a critical void in executive leadership at many organizations, which you might be perfect for on a temporary or part-time basis. These types of contract work are ideal for executives still planning their next permanent move or off-ramping into retirement or full-time consulting work.
But what about full-time employment? Will you ever have a permanent job again? Absolutely, you can! Indeed offers this guide for job seekers in their 60s that offers networking, researching, personal branding, and other tips.
And for additional questions and resources regarding transition jobs for those who are job searching after 60 and those who are having a career change at 60, contact us. We’re here to help. There are opportunities out there, but it may take creative thinking and teamwork to find the best fit and employers who truly value what you bring to the table.