Employment Trends

Trends older workers need to look out for in 2019

Written by Kate Lopaze

When it comes to workplace trends, it can seem like Millennials are the only ones facing changes and making changes. But if you happen to be a non-Millennial, like millions of American workers, it can be hard to see where you fit in with the changing workplace landscape. If you’re a Baby Boomer (born approximately 1946 and 1964), we’ve got you covered! Here are three significant trends you should be thinking about for your 2019 professional life.

3 career trends people above the age of 55 should know about

1. Experience is still more important than age

Many Baby Boomers find themselves working past the age that their own parents retired, due to a range of factors from financial security to the fact that many workers just not ready yet to hang up their career hats. That trend is making its way into the hiring arena.

According to Labor Department data analysis done by TLR Analytics, nearly half of the 2.9 million jobs gained during 2018 went to workers age 55 and older. In 2018, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 39.2% of Americans over age 55 were employed—the highest number in that demographic since 1961. So employers are hiring older workers, but many workers are simply hanging onto their jobs longer as well.

Part of the reason is that workers are saying active longer, but also, many employers are seeking stable, mature employees. A recent study by the National Council on Aging revealed that older employees did less job-hopping than their younger counterparts and had lower absentee rates.  

2. Contract work is on the rise

Per a 2018 NPR/Marist poll, 1 in 5 American jobs are held by a contract worker. For many Boomers, this represents a significant shift in how to think about the workplace and the work day. Many companies are shifting from a traditional full-time employment model to hiring part-timers and freelance or contract workers. For a generation that was raised with the idea that work means putting in your time and building your career around a single, stable full-time job for decades, it can be a difficult shift to digest.

This change is especially noteworthy for Baby Boomers, because contract jobs often don’t come with the hallmarks of a full-time job: insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and other benefits. Working in the contract economy can mean extra planning and different financial solutions as you start thinking about your career endgame.

3. More companies are willing to let you work remotely

With the rise of digital communication in all aspects of the workplace, plus the focus that many companies have on collaborating with partners all over the world, telecommuting and flexible work arrangements (like working from home or working remotely during unorthodox hours) are becoming more and more prevalent.

The 9-to-5, punch-in-and-punch-out model, isn’t dead yet, but it’s unlikely that we’ll see a return to those traditional norms for many industries. And for older workers, this new landscape can be a distinct advantage. The number of companies that offer a remote work option may increase the number of job openings available to older workers who may find long-distance work difficult.

Flexible work arrangements can also be a good way to segue into part-time work or consulting if you’re thinking about how to move into retirement. And these flexible arrangements also represent a boon in quality of life in many cases, offering savings in time, money, and the aggravation of a commute. Today’s older workers are increasingly tech-savvy, which will lead to more and more opportunities in the evolving physical and digital workplace.

As the workplace evolves, so does the Baby Boomer employee. The stats show that rather than being sidelined, older workers are not only fighting for (and keeping) their jobs, but also that they’re a workplace force to be reckoned with—in 2019 and beyond.

About the author

Kate Lopaze

Kate Lopaze is a writer, editor, and digital publishing professional based in New York City. A graduate of the University of Connecticut and Emerson College with degrees in English and publishing, she is passionate about books, baseball, and pop culture (though not necessarily in that order), and lives in Brooklyn with her dog.