Later Life Job Changes before and after the Great Recession

Richard W. Johnson, Urban Institute

Paid employment is becoming increasingly common at older ages. Yet for many older workers, delaying retirement does not mean continuing in the same jobs they held when they were younger. Instead, many embark on new careers. This paper uses data from the Health and Retirement Study to examine job changes at older ages. Results indicate that one-half of workers move to new jobs after age 50, and 36 percent move into new occupations. Job change becomes less common as workers age, but nonetheless persists until advanced ages. Employment transitions at older ages often involve shifts into jobs that are less stressful and more enjoyable then previous ones. Additionally, workers who change jobs in their 50s and early 60s withdraw from the labor force later than those who remain with the same employer at those ages, suggesting that efforts to promote such transitions could encourage more adults to retire later.

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Presented in Session 105: Retirement, Retirement Age, and Work in Later Adulthood