While there are worries of a recession occurring in 2023, one thing is certain entering the new year: Unemployment rates remain quite low. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall unemployment rate near the end of 2022 was 3.7 percent. For people age 55 and older, the rate was even lower, clocking in at just 2.5 percent.
What those numbers mean is that many employers are hungry to hire, especially for the roles included on the list below. AARP examined the BLS projections on the prospects for various careers between now and 2031 to identify which jobs offer good opportunities for older workers. The analysis found a range of professions suitable to different backgrounds and levels of experience. Overall, medical professions are projected to show the most growth, but other jobs, such as financial manager, chef, referee and teacher, also are expected to do more hiring.
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The following 20 jobs are expected to be in demand in 2023. They are ranked in order of the biggest 10-year percentage increase in the projected number of jobs added between 2021 and 2031. Clicking on the “Find jobs” link will take you to the list of current job postings in that profession on the AARP Job Board.
Increase in jobs: 45.7 percent
Average hourly wage: $56.75
Find nurse practitioner job openings
Nurse practitioners can perform many of the tasks that doctors do, such as creating treatment plans for patients, managing medical histories and supervising registered nurses. The big difference is that nurse practitioners cannot prescribe medications in most states. However, because nurse practitioners are so versatile, demand for them continues to grow rapidly. To become a nurse practitioner, you will need a graduate degree in nursing along with the appropriate licenses for the states in which you work.
Increase in jobs: 35.8 percent
Average hourly wage: $52.24
Find data scientist job openings
From car rental companies such as Avis to telecommunications businesses such as Verizon, data scientists analyze the numbers and other information to figure out the best ways for their businesses to be more successful. The job duties include identifying what types of business and customer data are worth gathering, then verifying that the information is accurate. It’s a big job that typically requires at least a bachelor’s degree in a field such as statistics or mathematics.
Increase in jobs: 34.7 percent
Average hourly wage: $54.46
Find information security analyst job openings
Hackers are always looking for new ways to get their hands on the valuable information that businesses have — the personal information of their clients. Information security analysts are the watchdogs who work to prevent these security breaches from happening.
Increase in jobs: 31.7 percent
Average hourly wage: $24.86
Find umpire and referee job openings
Sports continue to be one of the nation’s favorite pastimes, and that athletic enthusiasm is creating job opportunities. School districts, recreational leagues, and major and minor professional leagues need officials who can keep the games fair and free-flowing. Some on-the-job training is required, along with and perhaps more than a little patience for argumentative fans and players.
Increase in jobs: 30.3 percent
Average hourly wage: $38.09
Find web developer job openings
Most people rely on the internet to stay informed and connected with our communities for essential needs. Web developers make sure those sites function properly while also updating them to include new functions that make them easier to use. Many of these positions can be done remotely.
Increase in jobs: 29.7 percent and 24.5 percent
Average hourly wage: $19.47 for both
Maybe it’s the popularity of viral dance videos on TikTok, but demand for dancers and choreographers has surged in recent years. In addition to helping clients make posts for social media and performing on stage and in film, dancers and choreographers work on smaller events such as weddings and other family gatherings. No degree is necessary to work in this field, but you will need some training and rhythm.
Increase in jobs: 27.6 percent
Average hourly wage: $57.43
Find physician assistant job openings
Physician assistant, or P.A., is another health care role that has more responsibilities than a nurse but less than a doctor. Working alongside a physician, the workers can handle duties such as diagnosing patients, ordering medical tests and setting broken bones. These jobs require a master’s degree along with the appropriate licenses.
Increase in jobs: 25.4 percent
Average hourly wage: $14.07
Find home health aide job openings
If you have personal experience serving as a family caregiver, a home health aide job might be a good career opportunity for you. Because people generally are living longer, there has been skyrocketing demand for workers who can assist adults with their daily living activities. People skills and compassion are some of the key qualifications for these jobs, which typically only require a high school diploma along with brief on-the-job training. These positions can be physically demanding, so make sure you are healthy enough for the work.
Increase in jobs: 19.7 percent
Average hourly wage: $22.39
While this profession seemed poised to become a casualty of the rise of websites that help people book travel on their own, jobs in this industry actually are expected to rise over the next decade, according to the BLS. With many people eager to start globe-trotting again after years of being relatively homebound, businesses such as hotels are hiring additional help to manage reservations.
Increase in jobs: 19.4 percent
Average hourly wage: $14.19
Find animal care specialist job openings
While there is some debate over whether the “pandemic pup” was an actual boom or a myth, the demand for animal caretakers certainly has seen a spike. The jobs include roles ranging from dog walking and pet day care to working with shelters and even veterinarians, in some cases.
Increase in jobs: 19 percent
Average hourly wage: $36.58
Find market research analyst job openings
Employers in industries as wide-ranging as public transportation (New Jersey Transit), health care (United Health Group) and pet supplies (Petco) are looking for workers who can help them locate the best opportunities for success. The role requires a knack for making sense of what data and other types of information really mean. An eye for emerging business opportunities also is valuable in this profession.
Increase in jobs: 16.8 percent
Average hourly wage: $73.78
Find financial manager job openings
Financial managers are responsible for handling the accounts of companies and other businesses, a role which might become particularly important if the economy enters a downturn in the year ahead. You typically will need several years’ experience to qualify for one of these jobs.
Increase in jobs: 15.4 percent
Average hourly wage: $27.37
Find chef job openings
Many people spent their downtime during the pandemic mastering their baking and cooking skills. If you’re one of them, you might consider becoming a chef, a job where hiring demand is picking up as new restaurants are opening. Most successful chefs typically get some training from a culinary school, which can be as short as a few months or as long as four years depending on the degree you’re pursuing. Also, keep in mind that chefs are on their feet for eight hours or more a day as they prepare meals.
Increase in jobs: 10 percent
Average hourly wage: $20.50
Find truck driver job openings
The boom in online shopping has produced a subsequent rise in the demand for delivery truck drivers. These roles often offer the flexible hours that some older workers find appealing. While lifting packages can be part of the job, many drivers in this profession are not required to load or unload the trucks.
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