Makin' Money

Will older boomers find jobs?

Chris Farrell Mar 14, 2012

Aging boomers have gotten the message that they’ll have to work well into the traditional retirement years. Boomers have borrowed too much, saved too little and had the bad luck to watch their homes and 401(k)s plunge in value. In this Bloomberg Businessweek story, Not Retired: Will Older Baby Boomers Find Jobs?, I argue that the advice to work well into the traditional retirement years is realistic:

The question is, will the jobs be there for aging boomers? Will they be condemned to greet customers entering a big-box retailer? How realistic is it to expect employers will contemplate hiring a 63-year-old, let alone a 68-year-old, applicant? The responses to those questions from a random set of conversations with colleagues, neighbors, and local businesses suggest deep skepticism, an understandable takeaway from the worst labor market since the 1930s. Economists are more optimistic. “I think the jobs will be there,” says Richard Johnson, economist at the Urban Institute. Kevin Cahill, economist at the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College, points to the smaller number of workers following the boomers: “The demographics suggest employers will have no choice but to hire older workers.”

That’s the good news. The drawback is that wages for many older workers will be low, thanks to the combination of age discrimination, a large supply of older job seekers and, on a more positive note, the desire for flex-time work.

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