Ballerinas, train drivers and archaeologists…what the over 55s want to be when they grow up

Ballerinas, train drivers and archaeologists…what the over 55s want to be when they grow up

New research reveals our dream careers

Older generations are refusing to give up on their dream career and are bucking the national trend, according to new research.

The research, commissioned by FutureLearn, shows that a mere 1 in 4 (28%) will achieve their career dreams by the time they retire with nearly half (46%) already saying they are too old to land their ideal job.

However, the over 55’s still have high hopes for landing their dream job and are actively taking steps to get there. Nearly half (48%) are willing to either volunteer, take a course, re-train or re-locate to fulfil their career dreams.

And they’re not settling for run of the mill careers either; the most cited dream jobs of the over 55s could be seen on a similar list made by a child. From a doctor to a train driver and an archaeologist to artist, the over 55s are using their imaginations.

FutureLearn, the online learning platform, supports these findings. Nearly 400,000 people out of their 3 million online learners are aged over 55. And it’s not gardening and golf they’re turning to; some of the most popular courses taken by the over 55s include Start Writing Fiction, Wellington and Waterloo and Starting a Business, proving you’re never too old to pursue The over 55s top ten dream jobs

  1. Writer
  2. Scientist
  3. Actor/Actress
  4. Historian
  5. Businessman/businesswoman/entrepreneur
  6. Footballer
  7. Archaeologist
  8. Doctor
  9. Train driver
  10. Artist
  11. Dancer/ballerina

Dr Simon Moore, Chartered Psychologist comments,

“Given people have greater life expectancies there is an accompanying change in perceptions about life long jobs. Many of us are now working for longer which means that we have more ‘career’ opportunities open to us later in life than previous generations.

This greater ‘opportunity’ combination impacts how we deal with our careers. I think many older adults, having established families that have left the nest and having paid off large chunks of their mortgages are now much ‘freer’ to think about taking on new challenges. The psychological release from commitments and dependents that may have tied their choices down twenty or thirty years ago, now acts as a stimulus to undertake activities that are more enjoyable or relevant.”

About FutureLearn

FutureLearn is a social learning platform, designed to support learning through conversation. It offers free online courses from globally renowned UK and international universities, centres of research excellence and specialist education providers like the British Council, Creative Skillset and European Space Agency.

To sign up to a FutureLearn course visit