Whether it’s the freedom to work from home or more time to handle caregiving responsibilities, older workers value the flexibility that freelance work offers, according to a survey from AARP Research.
In the poll, 87 percent of respondents said flexibility about when and how much they work is one of the top reasons for choosing to work in freelance or contract jobs. AARP Research conducted the nationwide survey of 540 people age 40 and older who work as “an independent contractor, independent consultant, a gig worker or a freelancer.”
The desire to make extra money is another top reason for working freelance, according to 89 percent of respondents. Roughly 7 in 10 said they wanted the flexibility to care for children or adult dependents.
“The way people think about work changed with the pandemic,” says Carly Roszkowski, AARP vice president of financial resilience programing. “Many older workers were laid off or had to quit their jobs to take care of family members, and as they return to the workforce, they want more flexibility and work-life balance. Freelance or gig work is appealing because it provides people the opportunity to set their own hours, be their own boss and to have that balance.”
Remote work and freelance jobs soared during the first two years of the pandemic and continue to be popular options among job seekers. According to FlexJobs, the following 10 occupations that offer freelance, work-from-home opportunities have seen the most hiring demand recently. Clicking on the “find jobs” links for each of the job categories listed below will take you to current postings for that job title on the AARP Job Board. (Not every posting will offer remote or independent work options.) You can find additional information about working independently on AARP Foundation’s Freelancing Resource Center and AARP’s Small Business Resource Center for the 50+.
1. Executive assistant
While the job outlook for full-time executive assistants is not so good, the demand for freelance assistants is strong. Traditional executive assistants typically are responsible for managing the schedules and other clerical duties for one person, but freelance assistants often work for several executives simultaneously, sometimes including executives from different companies.
This job is a good fit for older workers who have built a large network of contacts during their careers. Employers are always looking for talented workers. Your experience and insights can help them land the right employee to fill their business’ needs.
3. Customer Service Representative
When you need help with your health insurance or want to know why the new gadget you bought isn’t working, customer service representatives are the people who answer your call. The job can be challenging because callers often are upset when they reach out for assistance, but working freelance means you can pick how frequently you work.
If you have a knack for numbers — particularly when it comes to tracking business costs and revenues — freelance bookkeeping could be an attractive opportunity for you. While previous job experience (and contacts) can help you get started as a contract worker, you can also get into the field through online courses and certifications.
5. Graphic Designer
You’ll need a strong portfolio of your graphic design work to get freelance jobs. But if you have the artistic skills and familiarity with the necessary software programs, working as a designer independently offers great flexibility.