Special Report

Occupations With the Oldest Workers

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6. Legal secretaries and administrative assistants
> Median age in workforce: 53.5 years old
> Workers 65 and older: 9,000 — 16.7% of total workforce
> Projected employment growth, 2019-2029: -22.1%
> Median annual earnings: $47,528

Legal secretaries and administrative assistants have a higher median age, at 53.5 years, than all but five other professions. Of the estimated 54,000 Americans in this occupation, 39,000 are 45 and older.

Like many of the other jobs on this list, some of the tasks performed by legal secretaries can now be done using computers and applications. This includes preparing and filing documents, managing phone calls, and more. The number of these workers are projected to decline by more than 22% over the next decade.

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5. Tailors, dressmakers, and sewers
> Median age in workforce: 53.6 years old
> Workers 65 and older: 11,000 — 17.2% of total workforce
> Projected employment growth, 2019-2029: -4.9%
> Median annual earnings: $32,120

The typical American working as a tailor, dressmaker, or sewer is 53.6 years old — about 11 years older than the typical worker across all occupations — and over 17% of those in the occupation, about 11,000 people, are 65 or older.

As is the case with many occupations with older workforces, employment opportunities for tailors, dressmakers, and sewers are disappearing largely because of technology. Over the next decade, the number of jobs in the field is projected to contract by 4.9%, even as employment across all occupations climbs by 3.7%.

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4. Bus drivers, transit and intercity
> Median age in workforce: 54.4 years old
> Workers 65 and older: 29,000 — 15.5% of total workforce
> Projected employment growth, 2019-2029: +9.3%
> Median annual earnings: $40,716

Transit and city bus drivers are in one of three driving jobs to rank among the occupations with the oldest workers. The median age of transit bus drivers is 54.4 years, compared to the 42.5 year median across all workers.

These bus drivers have a median annual earnings of $40,716, more than $10,000 less than the overall median earnings for all occupations. The projected employment growth for this field, however, is well more than double the typical job, at 9.3%.

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3. Judges, magistrates, and other judicial workers
> Median age in workforce: 54.4 years old
> Workers 65 and older: 19,000 — 24.4% of total workforce
> Projected employment growth, 2019-2029: +3.1%
> Median annual earnings: $96,512

Judges and other judicial workers are among the oldest workers in America, with a median age of 54.4 years. Nearly a quarter of these workers are 65 and older. This is one of the highest paying fields in the country, with median annual earnings over $96,000.

These workers tend to be much older than is typical largely because of the years of experience needed to qualify as a judge. Judges typically need a law degree and years of working in the legal field to establish themselves before they are appointed or elected to their judgeship.

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2. School bus drivers
> Median age in workforce: 54.7 years old
> Workers 65 and older: 38,000 — 18.9% of total workforce
> Projected employment growth, 2019-2029: +11.1%
> Median annual earnings: $33,644

School bus drivers have the second highest median age of any job in America, at 54.7 years. Only about a quarter of school bus drivers are under age 45. Yet as the number of school children increases, the number of drivers required will increase as well. The projected increase of school bus drivers from 2019 to 2029 is 11.1%, three times as high as the increase across all occupations.

School bus drivers have relatively low median annual earnings, at $33,644 — more than $17,000 lower than the median across all earnings. However, these drivers do not work over the summer when school is out.