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10 Career-Path Suggestions for Midlife Career Changers

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

A down economy brings one thing to most everyone’s career path: change. Whether it’s learning new skills for the same job or searching for a different one, these added work pressures can be especially hard on people who have been in their job for 20+ years. Rather than wind down or hit their stride, they have to start over or take it up a notch.

What is one way to take charge of your career course at midlife? Be informed about your career choices.

Beyond personality quizzes and scanning top job search engines online, there’s another tool available for you to make smarter choices for a midlife career change, PayScale’s GigZig. GigZig collects information from PayScale’s database about people’s career paths and tells you, for a specific job position, what PayScale users typically did five years before and after holding that job.  You can look up jobs in any industry that PayScale’s data covers – and that’s a lot.

Even though a career change at 40 or 50 is likely not easy for anyone, GigZig can tell you what some realistic career choices are for you. By researching all of the jobs you’ve had you can see what people with sales skills, IT skills, writing skills, and more, do or did for work. If you’re currently in retail, could you leap to nursing? According to GigZig’s results, a good number of people do.

Remember, you’re not the only one making a career change at 40, 50 or even later. But, you can be an extra well-informed one. To help those who are making midlife career changes, below is a list of some common careers, their annual average salaries and where people in them ended up five years later, as reported by GigZig.

1. Retail Sales Manager Jobs – $44,120
a. Human Resources (HR) Manager – $56,700
b. District Manager, Retail – $70,300
c. Branch Manager, Banking – $51,429

2. Human Resources Generalist Jobs – $45,661 per year
a. Employee Relations Manger – $64,800
b. Compensation Analyst – $54,000
c. Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) Analyst – $56,400

3. Editor Jobs – $42,900
a. Communications Manager – $57,800
b. Medical Copy Editor – $43,900
c. Film/Video Editor – $41,300

4. High School Teacher Jobs – $42,800
a. Consultant, Education/Training – $61,400
b. Elementary School Principal – $71,600
c. Registered Nurse – $54,500

5. System Administrator, Computer Network Jobs – $50,516
a. Project Manager, IT – $84,700
b. Database Administrator – $66,500
c. Information Technology Manager – $74,800

6. Construction Project Manager Jobs – $71,600
a. Senior Estimator – $78,900
b. Construction Manager – $73,100
c. Director of Operations – $87,000

7. Office Manager Jobs – $36,500
a. Financial Controller – $78,200
b. Accounting Manager – $58,200
c. General/Operations Manager – $61,200

8. Banking – Teller Supervisor Jobs – $28,400
a. Credit Analyst, Banking – $42,400
b. Operations Manger, Banking – $51,600
c. Loan Officer – $42,100

9. Restaurant General Manager Jobs – $47,900
a. General Manager, Hotel – $52,800
b. Food and Beverage Director – $58,500
c. District Operations Manager, Fast Foods – $64,300

10. Graphic Artist Jobs – $35,200
a. Art Director – $52,500
b. Web Designer and Developer – $45,312
c. Marketing Coordinator – $37,300

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About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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