Study: Working Baby Boomers Take Bigger Risks Than Younger Generations

Julia Little  |  March 13, 2013

Baby boomers have shown no sign of slowing down, even though many of them are now approaching or have reached retirement age. One of the things that sets apart this demographic from their predecessors is that many of them are eager to continue working well beyond age 65, even if they've already moved to a retirement community. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people over 65 in the workforce increased by 101 percent between 1977 and 2007. For people over 75, employment figures rose by 172 percent during that same time period. Now, a new study of 2,828 users finds that the generation may be willing to take more risks at the workplace when compared to younger adults.

Comparing generations
The results are based on a survey that asked random members of the workforce about their habits at the office. A full 43 percent of baby boomers, those between 50 and 69, described themselves as "high risk" - meaning they'd be willing to take bigger gambles concerning their career. For Generation X members, those between 30 and 49, only 40 percent said they were high risk. A mere 28 percent of people between 18 and 29, known as Generation Y, used this term to describe themselves.

Researchers speculate that the reason baby boomers are riskier at the office place is because they are well-established in their careers, while younger people may still be working their way up the ladder. However, the study also showed that older adults are more likely to be entrepreneurial. Around 45 percent of baby boomers said they would describe themselves this way, compared to 41 percent of Generation X members and 26 percent of the youngest generation in the workforce.

"This survey revealed that the entrepreneurial spirit resides in all of us and across all generations of workers," said Jeffery Quinn, vice president of Global Monster Insights. "Whether it's the direct result of the current economy or a person's independent drive, we are seeing more and more people across generations starting their own businesses as alternatives to traditional jobs or careers."

Flexibility in the workplace
Seniors who have an "entrepreneurial spirit" may find that flexible senior living arrangements make it easier for them to pursue their dreams and develop their businesses. Older adults residing in retirement communities will discover they have much more time on their hands when they don't have to worry about preparing meals or maintaining a large home.

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