It may seem surprising but the number of older workers, ages 65+, has been on the rise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics claim that “the unemployment rate for persons aged 55 years and older has increased sharply since the beginning of the recession in December 2007. The jobless rate among older workers was 7.1 percent (seasonally adjusted) in February 2010, just shy of the record-high level of 7.2 percent in December 2009.”

They continue to state that “although the rate of unemployment among older workers is lower than that for their younger counterparts, older persons who do become unemployed spend more time searching for work. In February 2010, workers aged 55 years and older had an average duration of joblessness of 35.5 weeks, compared with 23.3 weeks for those aged 16 to 24 years and 30.3 weeks for those aged 25 to 54 years.”

With all these marks against older workers, what are their options? Many change careers, look for internships, take early retirement, or take unemployment. The National Career Development Association (NCDA) recently wrote two articles about job seekers over the age of 40 who seek a career change. The authors, Terry Pile and David Lingle, are also writing a book entitled Changing Careers after 40: Real Stories, New Callings, and noted that career changers over the age of 40 is “a growing phenomenon” and highlighted four characteristics that match a successful change, which are:

  • Being open to change
  • Feeling confused about the next steps
  • Creating a positive environment
  • Willing to take a risk

Pile & Lingle continue to note some steps like building a supportive environment which helps lead to a career change. In a follow up article they provide an example of a person who has made a career change. They also shared a strategy for a career change with 5 prevailing themes:

  • Creating a portfolio of careers
  • Turning a hobby into a paycheck
  • Developing collaborative relationships
  • Transferring dependable strengths
  • Taking advantage of community resources

Along with the insights of Pile & Lingle, here are some additional websites for older workers:

Aid for Older Job Seekers – An article on the NCDA website with information on challenges and solutions for older job seekers

Interns Over 40 – Resources for older job seekers, including internships to help aid someone seeking a career change

National Older Worker Career Center – Provides national leadership to expand employment and to help shape public and private policy and practice for America’s fast-growing population of workers age 55 and over

Senior Employment Resources – Providing job searching resources and placement services to senior job seekers, age 50 and older, who reside in Northern Virginia

AARP – Articles and resources for older workers, including job hunting, employee rights, employee benefits, working after retirement, self-employment, retirement planning, social security, work life, and work & retirement tools

This is my concluding post for Diversity Career Resources, but please refer to one of my older blogs for another diverse group, veterans, entitled The Military Brand.


Karen is a Career Counselor and Internship Coordinator at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). At IPFW she assists students in finding internships, coordinates and assists with campus-wide events, teaches a Career Planning course, and meets with students individually to assist them with all aspects of career development. She has a Bachelor of Science in Education with a major in Recreation and Tourism and a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling from Bowling Green State University (GO Falcons!). Her 10+ years professional-experience ranges from working at camps, schools, a church, college campuses, and other non-profits. Although these may seem unrelated she attests that she still uses both her degrees and life experiences from all jobs in her current career. When she isn’t working or volunteering at one of four local non-profits, she enjoys singing in two choruses and spending time with her family and black lab, Othello. You can connect with Karen through Twitter, LinkedIn, or IPFW’s Blog.

Related posts:

  2. Diversity Career Resources: LGBTQ
  3. Diversity Career Resources: Part 1

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