According to the Thomas C. Nelson, Chief Operating Officer, AARP (2006), by 2012 nearly 20 percent of the U.S. workforce will be age 55 or older, up from 14 percent in 2002.
As the baby boom(er) generation nears retirement age, and the generations coming after are considerably smaller, analysts are predicting labor shortages in many industries. Healthcare and government are among those that will be hit the hardest.

Some work/career options for either those heading for retirement and want to continue working in a different area of interest or those post-retirement now looking forward to rejoin the workforce:

  • Back in a job with similar job description as you have been in before
  • Using your newly acquired skills to re-invent yourself
  • Home-based business
  • Buying a franchise business
  • Being an infopreneur or taking-up writing as a career
  • Teaching / tutoring
  • Working for a non-profit

The nonprofit workforce now makes up 10.5% of U.S. jobs, according to a study by the Nonprofit Employment Data Project at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

But don’t let these suggestions keep you away from dreaming and realizing your dream of a high flying job in the corporate world, consider the case of 50-year-old Brenda Barnes who was named CEO of Sara Lee Corp. in 2004 after taking a six-year hiatus from a full-time corporate job.

Tips to Re-enter the Workforce

  • Network with young employees in the field of work you are interested in, it is through them you can learn to think the way the current workforce functions. You may after all find out that the basic work techniques have not changed at all, the new work culture may be more informal than what you have experienced before but knowing how to be formal is advantageous over knowing how not to be!
    At times we make a strong opinion on the new generation and notice more what they are not doing right. It is essential to get out of a rigid frame of mind and be more accepting and respectful to change. Constant resistance is our denial to change, but change is inevitable. There is always something to learn from the different generations, more interaction and better communication is the key to bridge these gaps and leads to a common appreciation and learning. We must keep on learning – your emphasis should be towards keeping a youthful mind and an agile body.
    The more interaction you have with the younger generation the more they will learn from you and you from them, it is the key for keeping your mind young forever.
  • To change with the world, first you must be ready to change yourself and be ready to unlearn what you have strong opinions on. Research and adapt the new technologies in use in the industry of your choice.
  • Be open-minded to new courses and learning in your field. It shows your acceptance and adaptable nature to the present work culture.
  • Be ready to take on challenges, let age not be a barrier towards starting a new venture or consider going back to the college.