The 10 Most Common Jobs for Older Workers

Senior citizens are likely to be working in retail.

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The stereotype of the senior citizen working at Borders and Home Depot appears to be true. Retail jobs are the most common occupation for workers 65 or older, according to an Urban Institute analysis to be released later this month.

Almost 7 percent of people still working past age 65 are employed as retail sales persons or their supervisors, the Urban Institute calculated. Among the workforce as a whole, only about 5 percent of people work in retail.

"It's still the case that the most common occupation is somewhat mundane like cashiers, janitors, and secretaries," says Richard Johnson, a principal research associate at the Urban Institute and author of the study. "It's still a minority of the jobs that are exciting new careers."

Here are the jobs most common among seniors, according to the study.

Jobs With the Most Employees Ages 65 and Older

  Occupation Total 65-and-Older Workers Share of Workers 65 and Older in the Occupation
1. Retail salesperson 181,559 3.5%
2. Farmers and ranchers 177,383 3.4
3. First-line supervisors/managers of retail salespeople 164,507 3.2
4. Janitors and building cleaners 146,364 2.8
5. Driver/sales workers and truck drivers 139,902 2.7
6. Secretaries and administrative assistants 139,829 2.7
7. Cashiers 110,508 2.1
8. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks 108,798 2.1
9. Real estate brokers and sales agents 92,465 1.8
10. Chief executives 89,720 1.7

Source: Urban Institute calculations, 2008

Jobs With the Highest Percentage of Employees Ages 65 and Older

  Occupation Share of Workers in Occupation Who Are 65 and Older
1. Funeral service workers 31.4%
2. Crossing guards 27.7
3. Farmers and ranchers 25.7
4. Models, demonstrators, and product promoters 23.1
5. Funeral directors 16.3
6. Tax preparers 14.3
7. Farm, ranch, and other agricultural managers 13.2
8. Barbers 13.0
9. Tool grinders, filers, and sharpeners 11.6
10. Clergy 11.4

Source: Urban Institute calculations, 2008