Thursday, June 19, 2008

Survey; Unlocking Clues to "Encore" Careers among Boomers

A survey of people aged 44 and 70 estimates that between 5.3 and 8.4 million Americans have already launched "encore careers"--positions that combine income and personal meaning with social impact--and that half of those not already in encore careers, half are interested in them. The "2008 MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures Encore Career Survey," conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc., finds that a majority of Americans in this age bracket express a desire to use their skills and experience to help others and, of those currently in encore careers, 84% report a high level of satisfaction and 94% say they see the positive results of their work and know they are making a difference.
"This is the first national survey to uncover evidence that the encore career is more than an appealing idea," said Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Civic Ventures, a think tank on boomers, work and aging. "Unexpectedly large numbers of boomers are looking for purpose-driven jobs that provide them with both means and meaning. That’s great for them and great for the rest of us, too. As this research shows, they are applying their skills and passions to the very public interest fields that need them most."
The jobs of special interest to those looking to encore careers are in education, health care and the nonprofit sector. Among other findings in the report, most respondents interested in encore careers are worried that these positions may be hard to find and may not meet their needs--80% expressed concern about having the flexibility to take time off and a majority were worried about having adequate income and benefits. However, respondents currently in encore careers reported few problems with these same issues.
Most of those in encore careers come from professional and white-collar jobs (88%), have at least a college education (67%), and tend to live in cities and their surrounding suburbs (72%). Most (60%) are leading edge boomers between the ages of 51 and 62. Most (56%) are women. But the research also reveals diversity in the ranks. Of those in encore careers, three in 10 never graduated from college, three in 10 live in small towns and rural areas, and nearly two in 10 (18%) worked in a blue-collar job before making the switch to an encore career.
In addition to publishing the report, Civic Ventures has provided a number of supporting articles and commentaries.

Source: Civic Ventures News Release (June 18, 2008)

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