How the Gig Economy Supports Generation X and Baby Boomers

BY Jesi Bolandrina

18 Aug, 2020

How the Gig Economy Supports Generation X and Baby Boomers

BY Jesi Bolandrina

Although flexible work is often associated with younger generations, recent studies show that gig work is not restricted to people early in their working lives. It has benefits for all ages engaged with the workforce. There are several reasons that workers in their 50s and older can find success in the evolving gig economy. In today’s society, workers in their 50s are not keen to ‘slow down’. Workers in this age group are still eager and willing to work. The gig economy creates opportunity for this generation of workers to take on new and different roles.

Maribeth Sawchuk explained it best in an article for the Orlando Sentinel:

“The next time you see a feature on the news about a 60-something completing a university degree and starting a new career and they are called “exceptional,” roll your eyes. Accessible education, quality health care, and longer lifespans mean we’ll be seeing more of these reinvented “retirement age” professionals.”

Turning to Gig Work in Your 50s When Traditional Work Isn’t Enough

quote by elizabeth whiteSome say we are entering a new era of employment as the future of work pivots from the traditional 9-to-5 to picking up shifts and gigs. The gig economy has become more attractive as workers of all ages prioritize work-life balance and scheduling flexibility.

It’s tempting to assume these are the whims of young adults who crave travel and adventures over stability and predictability. However, a study by Alicia H. Munnell (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College) found that one-fifth of American workers in the 50 to 65 cohort are in non-traditional work arrangements. A 2018 Gallup poll also found that the gig economy has higher participation rates from baby boomers than millennials or Gen Xers. The poll estimates that about one in three baby boomers have a gig as a primary job.

“For someone in that age group who has been downsized from a job or taken early retirement, it’s really hard to get a full-time job,” Kerry Hannon, author of “Great Jobs for Everyone 50+”, said in a CNBC article.

This data shows that a majority of workers finding success and value in the gig economy are in the baby boomer generation.

Job and Gig Search Tips

Job searching for older and experienced workers can seem daunting. Consider leveraging your experience to help differentiate yourself from a younger applicant pool when applying for gig and flexible work.

Career column writer Caroline Ceniza-Levine says job searches can have similarities across ages and industries. She put together a modified search plan for job seekers over the age of 50. In her plan, she outlines things like utilizing networks, being clear with your needs, and preparing your unique value proposition.

Preparing and Enjoying Retirement

older gig workers In Elizabeth White’s book, “55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal,” she explains that the freelancing can help navigate around ageism. The boomer generation can utilize the gig economy to find purpose and extra padding for their retirement savings.

Evan Press of Equitable Advisors told Forbes, “Anything from home that a Boomer can do via phone or computer to earn extra income is great.” According to the Forbes article, supplemental income during retirement can come through numerous non-traditional opportunities.

Workers can pick up gigs as often or as little as their schedule allows. This means the amount of flexible income that a worker can earn is at their discretion. For some, this could mean extra income. For others it could be the money they need to make ends meet.

We encourage you to consider gig work at any age if traditional work isn’t the right answer. If you value flexible schedules and determining how much you can earn, the gig economy could be the place for you. Baby boomers are finding work across the country by leveraging their experience and taking gig work. Join the gig economy workforce and find your own success, today.

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