Around four in five Baby Boomers expect to keep working instead of entering retirement due to financial necessity. But when faced with chronic workplace age discrimination, many older professionals are rethinking their corporate careers.
Ageism Is A Problem
For workers aged 45 and up, 60% have said they’ve experienced some form of ageism in the workplace ranging from disparaging comments to termination. Almost 20% report having been passed over for a job or promotion that they were qualified for and 8% had been laid off or fired for mysteriously unclear reasons. Even global corporate powerhouse IBM has gradually been forcing out its older employees in a policy that “corrects seniority mix” and since 2013 has replaced over 20,000 workers aged 40 and over. So how are older workers succeeding in these increasingly age-obsessed environments? For starters, they are following their passions.
Fighting Ageism By Starting Your Own Business
“Greyprenuers” put themselves ahead of the curve by leaving the positions that impose limitations on them. As traditional workplaces become more and more unfriendly to their older employees, some Baby Boomers decide to remove themselves before management can give them the boot. “I believe that rather than waiting for an employer to ‘pick you’ you should ‘pick yourself’” says Jane Jackson, author and career management coach.
Nearly 50% of self-employed workers are Baby Boomers and among small business owners, almost 60% are over 50. Taking decades of industry knowledge, these “greyprenuers” are building their own brands, redefining their success, and become their own boss far away from the undue age discrimination. Turning their corporate liabilities into personal advantages, older entrepreneurs have better access to funding, connections from vast networks of colleagues and other professionals, and the life experience it takes to build a business from the ground up.
Entrepreneurship Benefits From Experience
At any age, working for yourself isn’t exactly easy, but the work ethic and driving force of Baby Boomers can’t be discounted. “Many Baby Boomers are not interested in retirement,” says Administrator of the Iowa Entrepreneurs coalition Sylvia DeWitt, “They’re always interested in building something.” Taking full advantage of the explosive growth and demand for freelance and gig economy work, Baby Boomers are even surpassing millennials in a variety of freelance work from construction to business and finance to sales consulting.
The difference comes down to a reliance on technology. Where Millennials and Gen X flock to social media like Facebook and LinkedIn to make, manage, and communicate with network connections, Baby Boomers don’t necessarily have this limitation. Their years of communication expertise has finely tuned their connection-making skills to help them easily reach clients, partners, and mentors. Contacts of every kind come with their own built-in collection of knowledge and potential for collaboration and become incredibly valuable when entering entrepreneurship.
Rethink your career, pursue a passion, and work for yourself at any age. This infographic guides the reader through the ins and outs of later-in-life entrepreneurship, the distinct advantages older professionals have when it comes to the gig economy, and how to find the right resources every step of the way.
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