Among Baby Boomers, four out of five currently have no plans to retire. By 2019, many of them are in or approaching “retirement age”, but they aren’t ready to leave their career. Even in environments that are ready to see them out of their positions, almost 25% of the US workforce is projected to be 55 and over by 2024. But if not in their traditional corporate careers, where are Baby Boomers finding success?
Your Career After 50
Starting back in 2013, IBM began operating under a new policy that corrected seniority mix. Since then, over 20,000 employees, all aged 40 and over, were subject to termination and forced out of their positions into early retirement.
Though questionable if this new guideline was indeed a malicious means to target older professionals and replace them with younger, and usually cheaper, workers, it isn’t the only instance of age discrimination in the workplace. For workers age 45 and up, spanning across all industries and all levels of professions, 60% have said they’ve seen or experienced first-hand ageism in their position.
- 19% of older workers describe losing out on a job they were qualified for
- 12% say they were passed over for a promotion
- 8% were fired or laid off for unclear reasons from management
The age-obsessed workplace creates needless competition, unlawful discrimination, and even puts our livelihood at stake.
How are older workers overcoming these roadblocks?
Instead of waiting around to get the boot, professionals of age are taking their skills elsewhere and their career into their own hands.
Optimizing the Gig Economy
More than any other generation, Baby Boomers seem to get the most out of gig economy work. Without reliance on any digital connection, they can use their own personal contacts for a competitive edge.
Especially for professionals who have left a lifelong career, the experience earned, insights gained, and networks built from the time spent in any given industry compound into synergetic know-how.
“Opportunities do not float like clouds in the sky. They are attached to people.” Says Ben Casnocha, entrepreneur and author of The Startup of You. Whether from the ability to easily make connections or calling on the decade’s worth of professional networks, Baby Boomers work with their own style.
- 49% of all self-employed individuals are Baby Boomers
- Construction, personal care services, sales, and business/financial consulting are freelance work for older professionals
- 19% of Baby Boomers use tech to succeed in the gig economy, yet 75% of them enjoy freelance work
See Also: How To Make The Gig Economy Work For You
Today, the majority of small business owners are over 50. To begin, these business leaders asked themselves a simple yet powerful question: “What do I want to do for work?”
For those who have worked in the corporate world their whole life, it can be challenging. But taking back the power and the influence when it comes to our personal and professional success is the first step to building the brand, voice, and the career we’ve always dreamed of.
Motivating factors for entrepreneurship range from being unhappy with a corporate position to pursue a passion. From the outside looking in, forging a personal path for a successful career might not look easy. However, the former liabilities of age can turn into advantages when it comes to entrepreneurship.
As young entrepreneurs struggle to find capital, the assets and credit of older startup founders is attractive to potential investors. Younger entrepreneurs start off their path with trial and error learning. “Greyprenuers”, meanwhile, know what they want and what to avoid from the get-go.
Contacts and networks built personally over decades can be more reliable than social media-based networking. It’s a distinct advantage of age.
Whether you’re a Baby Boomer looking for a change or young professional who’s just trying to plan ahead, understanding the world of entrepreneurship, complete with all the challenges it has to offer, can give us some long-term perspective when we think about what “success” means.
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Author: Brian Wallace
Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency based in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies that range from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian also runs #LinkedInLocal events nationwide, and hosts the Next Action Podcast. Brian has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-present and joined the SXSW Advisory Board in 2019.