This article was updated on June 14, 2018.
The gig economy is exploding in popularity. In this "economy," workers take on individual projects and other freelance work rather than signing on with one long-term employer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, contingent workers make up one in three workers in the United States, and this number is expected to grow over the coming years.
The Role of Baby Boomers in the Gig Economy
According to a study published by the Freelancers Union and Upwork, baby boomers are the generation that's most likely to start freelancing. Furthermore, the study found that Americans in this age range account for around 30 percent of the country's freelancers.
This trend makes sense, as the nature of contingent work fits the goals of baby boomers. Many members of this generation want to slow down but are not ready to completely leave the workforce just yet.
Finding Baby Boomer Workers
Baby boomer workers are out there and should not be hard to find. If you browse through freelance websites or put an ad out for gig work, chances are that you'll discover plenty of qualified workers in this demographic.
The biggest barrier might be your own perceptions. In an AARP survey, 64 percent of older workers reported that they had seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. Sometimes, hiring managers get into trouble because they seek out younger candidates to appease colleagues who may feel uncomfortable supervising someone who is older than them. If you're serious about finding talented baby boomer workers, you must stay vigilant and avoid age discrimination.
If you have a project that specifically needs input from baby boomers, you should look into putting your ad out on employment websites that target this demographic, such as Retirement Jobs.
Hiring Tips for Freelance Baby Boomers
When you design your job post or interview baby boomers, you should keep in mind that this generation has different goals than their younger counterparts. They often already have some savings and may receive support from government programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
Instead, baby boomers in the gig economy are likely looking for a way to stay active, socialize and receive recognition for their abilities. Many baby boomers turn to freelance work as a flexible way to earn money that still leaves them time to explore other interests. To encourage this generation to apply for one of your current openings, you should highlight your flexible scheduling and your talented team of employees.
The gig economy is presenting new opportunities for workers of all ages. By following this advice, you can attract some of the most talented and experienced baby boomers to work on your next big project.