In its August jobs report, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that U.S. employers added 173,000 jobs last month. Job gains throughout the year so far have been strong: The U.S. economy has created nearly 1.7 million jobs since January, with the healthcare and the professional and business services sectors driving much of that growth.
Additionally, the unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent, according to the BLS. This is a seven-year low — and a level that the Federal Reserve considers to be full employment.
Robert Half senior executive director Paul McDonald, in his analysis of the jobs report, notes that the low unemployment rate and the high demand for professionals with specialized skills may have many companies seeking experienced workers to fill key roles.
He says, “Employers are looking for professionals with a track record of proven success to lead complex initiatives. They value the insight and knowledge experienced talent can bring to the organization.”
Flexibility is the word
Of course, many baby boomers who are at or near retirement age are looking to wind down a full-time career—not start a new one. Even if they are keen to keep one foot firmly in the workforce, they likely want an arrangement that provides flexibility. McDonald suggests that these professionals consider consulting as a career.
“Consulting as a career is all about flexibility,” he says. “It can give baby boomers more power to choose how and when they want to retire.”
Companies look to consultants to provide specialized expertise for specific projects or business initiatives, which can last weeks, months or even longer in some cases. In addition to a flexible schedule, these arrangements can offer benefits such as diversity of assignments and high earning potential.
A recent Robert Half Management Resources survey found that eight in 10 senior financial executives consider consulting an attractive career. However, that doesn’t mean consulting is just for professionals who have worked at the C-level. Experience, skills, and knowledge are what matter most.
McDonald suggests that professionals who are eyeing the consulting path speak with a reputable staffing firm, or a career coach, for guidance on launching a new career in this field.