There’s no denying that the landscape of work is changing. More and more companies are adopting flexible work policies, recognizing the dramatic (and positive) impact that it has both for business and employees. But do you ever wonder what the future holds for the world of work, especially the future of work for Baby Boomers, Americans over 50? Will telecommuting continue, or will companies revert back to traditional office places?
Predictions are plentiful in the MarketWatch article, “15 Jaw-Dropping Predictions for Workers over 50.” The idea that millennials are the sweet spot for employers is debunked, with experts weighing in on why it’s the 50+ crowd that will be covet-worthy.
For starters, about one-quarter of the workforce will be 50 or older. And according to Andrew Scott, author of The 100-Year Life, stricter sanctions on immigration and failing fertility rates means that U.S. workers will be more in demand despite their ages. Plus, since older workers tend to use Medicaid as a primary source of insurance, that will make them more attractive to potential employers, cites Leading Futurists founders John Mahaffie and Jennifer Jarratt, and Katherine LY Green of Green Consulting Group.
Here are eight surprising predictions about the future of work for Americans over 50:
1. Encore careers are common.
It’s predicted that boomers and gen Xers will have second careers as they approach 50. These “encore” careers might be for philanthropic or financial reasons, but the even bigger assumption is that present employers will prepare these workers for their next careers by enriching their work with experiences and education.
2. Volunteerism increases.
Either to spruce up their skills, repair an employment gap on a resume, or simply to be a good human, workers may want to volunteer more at nonprofits and organizations that align with what interests that are near and dear to their heart. And it’s predicted that volunteerism will become the new status symbol, becoming even more meaningful than wealth or net worth.
3. Full-time jobs will become less popular.
Lawrence R. Samuel, author of Aging in America, anticipates that older Americans will take advantage of flexible work and look for part-time jobs, not full-time positions. They will represent the biggest segment of workers who take on contract jobs, freelance gigs, and alternate work assignments.
4. Older workers will be protected on the job.
One prediction is that new groups will form to protect older workers’ rights, in the form of unions, alumni associations, and organizations. They will both advocate and provide services for this segment of the workforce, which might include job hunting and other legal help. Plus, Green, Mahaffie, and Jarratt think employers will become more conscientious about creating safer working environments for older workers.
5. People will work much later into life.
The average retirement age is currently 63. In the future, seeing workers in their 70s still being active in the workplace may be commonplace—but not in their 80s, as some predict that those in their eighth decade will be forced into retirement by law.
6. Pay will be reflective of your job, not your age.
Forget about ever-increasing earnings the older you get. Roy Bahat, head of Bloomberg Beta and co-chair of the Shift Commission on Work, Workers and Technology, believes that workers, regardless of age, will be paid based on the job they perform, not the number of candles on their cake.
7. Education and career will be interchangeable.
The idea that you spend years studying to then find a job and work until retirement is passé. In the future, workers may segue in and out of the workforce, depending on their needs, and return to school at various points, either to further their education or learn new skills for their career—or heck, even to just live their lives. Bonus: it might be accepted (and expected) by employers if you have an employment gap.
8. Your legacy will be redefined.
If you thought your legacy was going to be determined in dollars and cents, think again. Your contribution to society, not the cash in your account, may be what matters in the end.
If you ask us, the future of work is fascinating! Not only are the limits lifted on how old you can be to work, but also on where you work, how you work, and why you work!