Boomers Look Toward Jobs With Purpose

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Jun 12, 2012
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

If you think that the career decisions of the baby boomers don’t affect you, think again.

We can’t deny that Baby Boomers comprise a large percentage of our population. According to U.S. News, there are now more Americans age 65 and older than at any other time in U.S. history. says that this year America’s 50 and older population will reach 100 million.

Now more than ever, adults are active much later in life. They are active professionally, working longer, which impacts younger people by limiting their opportunities for advancement.

Whether you are a Boomer or a Millennial, it’s important to be aware of trends in employment.

Recently MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures published New Face of Work Survey. The survey of Americans age 50 to 70 found they do not expect or desire to fully retire from work. Half the respondents indicated they would like a job to improve the quality of life in their communities. Twenty-one percent say they are very interested in taking a paying job that will enable them to serve their communities.

Included in this category is nursing. According to the American Association of the Colleges of Nursing, the United States nursing shortage will intensify as Baby Boomers age. The New Faces of Work study found that 48 percent of Boomers strongly support increased funding for Americans to get training for a new career, such as nursing.

In the Association for Curriculum Development’s Education Leadership publication, there is currently a “greening effect” in the teaching industry. This is characterized by a large portion of teachers at the beginning of their teaching career and a large portion at or nearing retirement. In between these two groups is a gap. The problem is that there is a need for experienced teachers to mentor the incoming wave of educators. This provides an opportunity for Boomers to stay in a teaching career longer, or serve in a volunteer or advisory capacity to mentor young teachers. The other economic impact of these two peaks of teacher groups is that the pension burden is enormous, and that impacts funding for staffing.

As in nursing and teaching, Boomers can fill a market need. In other cases, workers remaining in their career longer will hinder the advancement of those younger. advancement. However, if the New Face of Work survey is an accurate indicator, Boomers are choosing service-oriented careers as an encore career after they retire.

The bottom line for Boomers is there are opportunities to continue working in an employee, consultant, or volunteer capacity. The area of greatest need is healthcare, particularly nursing.

If you are a worker at the dawn of your career or if you are established with a career on the rise, pay attention to the way that Boomers affect the job market. In any job market, you can succeed by identifying opportunities (where the jobs are — by industry, location, and occupation), by educating yourself, and by proving through accomplishments that you are the best candidate for the job!

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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