Out-of-Work Boomers Look for Alternative Careers

Posted On January 15, 2013

Following the Great Recession, most of the conversation about generational unemployment has focused on Millennials, who have the highest numbers out of work. But many Baby Boomers also lost jobs in the recession’s aftermath (second most among generations). Often higher-paid than younger colleagues, they were the first to go in many cases. Many of them have found that late-career unemployment has challenges that are different from being young and jobless.

Too young to retire and too experienced for entry-level work, older Boomer workers tend to stay unemployed longer (55 weeks) than the rest of the unemployed (31 weeks). Boomers are also more likely to be “discouraged workers,” unemployed workers who just stop looking for a job, than other generations.

This week, the New York Times profiles five Boomers from this cohort and how they are responding to the challenges.  In many cases, Boomers have responded to late career unemployment by choosing to do something completely different. Earlier studies we’ve cited show a spike in Boomer entrepreneurship and the NYT profiles some Boomer-led startups. Along the same lines, some have pursued new opportunities as franchisees in new businesses or by working abroad. Others are learning to use social media to network and find opportunities. Overall, as some in the workaholic generation find themselves unexpectedly jobless, they are rediscovering the flexible, experimental, risk-taking attitudes that defined them as youth.


Categories: Baby Boomers, Entrepreneurship, Recession Economy