Retirees frequently search for part-time post-retirement jobs with flexible hours, less stress, and regular ongoing income. However, job board Indeed.com’s recent analysis shows that job seekers aged 62+ weren’t very creative in their part-time search queries.
Kevin, a semi-retired shuttle driver at a local car dealership, is a former manufacturing parts salesman with the gift of gab who can easily converse about business strategy, politics, sports or the weather, based on the interests of customer he’s driving at that moment. He frequently asks his younger passengers what they do for work and chimes in with tales of his former corporate job.
When Kevin retired, he wanted a job that kept him around people without a quota or needing to “take his work home with him” after years of stress. He figured that driving a shuttle would be an easy job and a good way to get out of the house a few days a week. The trouble is, sitting behind the wheel for hours also gives him back trouble, and he needs a day in between shifts to recover.
Other retirees like Kevin seem to be leaning toward part-time roles such as driver that seem relatively easy to get but can take a physical toll, accelerating the normal aches and pains of aging. According to job board Indeed.com’s recent research, a disproportionate number of 62+ retirees search for “driver” as their post-retirement career.
Looking at the top 20 queries for part-time jobs for people age 62+, if you take out the jobs that require extensive, advanced experience or training (physician, dentist, medical director, and senior pastor), then 73% of the low-skilled, part-time job-seeker queries involved some kind of driving.
One hypothesis that may explain the high frequency of these kinds of roles? Retirees may be dealing with “availability bias,” which is a mental shortcut that relies on things that come easily to mind. This faulty habit of thinking goes like this: if you can remember it more easily, it must occur with more frequency. So, retirees may quickly think, “what jobs am I most likely to get, based on the jobs I can easily recall an older worker holding?” In this case, if a retiree doesn’t have a data set of friends or other connections doing meaningful post-retirement work, then very common jobs (like driver or retail clerk) will be the ones that stand out as the most likely options.
Of course, for some retirees, driving a shuttle, a limo, or any other vehicle can be a perfectly enjoyable retirement activity. (Likely second only to driving a golf cart, if the cliché about retirees can be believed.) To be clear, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having driving as a second-act career option. Many retirees drive for Uber or Lyft or the local school bus system and love it. If Kevin weren’t experiencing physical pain, it’d be acceptable for him, too.
As a career coach with a wider view of what’s possible, I know for certain that a role exists for Kevin where he could use his skills, get higher pay, keep the same low-stress mindset and flexibility in hours, but lose the back pain.
Given the data, it’s unlikely that retirees get the help that they need to fully explore creative post-retirement career options. With the right encouragement, Kevin and his cohort of job seekers who are searching for part-time driver roles might instead be pleasantly surprised by options in the Gig Economy or other creative “second act” careers. They might look beyond Indeed.com (which is a wonderful site) and also explore AARP’s job board for older workers, or a site like FlexProfessionals.com that contains part-time professional job listings.
As Kevin’s generation (and the next generation of retirees) settles into their new work paradigm, we will need better tools to match older workers with a more diverse set of part-time job opportunities. Maybe as predictive job matching tools emerge, we can eventually suggest the most interesting (and viable) part time roles for retirees, based on their prior skills and their emerging post-career interests. In the meantime, we can do better at encouraging older workers to explore for themselves what might be engaging longer-term, as well as suggesting alternate tools that older workers use to find appropriate opportunities.
In the meantime, Kevin’s thinking about heading back to the job boards with a fresh perspective. This time, he’s got his eye on something that will use his natural ability to connect with others, such as #15: Senior Community Manager.
~Kathy Robinson, Founder, TurningPoint
What do YOU think is going on behind the data, and what would explain the high number of searches for driver roles? How can retirees expand the options that they consider for part-time retirement jobs?