Job Boom for Boomers

old hippyWorried about how long you’ll be able to keep working in order to pay for those golden retirement years? If recent studies are accurate, you can relax. There will be plenty of jobs for you.

In a study entitled After the Recovery: Help Needed, Barry Bluestone and Mark Melnik of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy argue that there will over 14.5 million jobs created between 2008 and 2018. If you’re 63 years old, that could mean you’re good to go for another 8 years until you’re 71 – or maybe longer.

The authors project that there will be only 9 million or so workers to fill those jobs, so that leaves more than 5 million jobs to go around. Most of the openings will be in the social sector – health care, education, non-profits, and government.

Short of overseas outsourcing, increased quotas for foreign workers, or expanded immigration, this means that boomers are going to fill the gap and employers will be looking for ways to structure jobs to make them attractive to older workers. For me, it just means a 20 minute nap around 2:30 pm and a cup of tea at 3:30 and I’ll be good for another 3 hours.

“Encore careers” are going to become very popular as boomers decide to keep working in new careers, exploring the work they may have wanted to do when they were younger but could not afford the time or lower compensation. peace signWorking as teacher or coordinators in non-profit programs, boomers may have chance to make a real impact on their communities. There’s nothing wrong with driving the school bus or being a greeter at WalMart (OK, there may be something wrong with the WalMart job), but think about how much positive effects baby boomers could have on the quality of education or social services.

In a strange twist of fate, baby boomers may have the opportunity in the later years of their lives to promote the idealism and optimism that was a signature aspect of this generation back in the 60s.

Peace and love, brothers and sisters, but pass on the tie-dyed t-shirts please.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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