Baby boomers bring experience to search for a new job

Think changing jobs is difficult? It can be even harder if you’re a baby boomer.

Photo: Brett Hurst/AP

Although there are federal laws against age discrimination, some employers may be reluctant to hire older workers, concerned about how long they’ll stay and the higher salaries they may demand.

But the traditional retirement age of 65 is fading, just as the 77 million-strong, baby-boom generation begins hitting it. The idea of lifetime job tenure, in which people stay in one job for their entire career, is also disappearing, and that can be good news for those looking to make a move.

Experience and know-how count!

Companies that are more thinly staffed than in the past may well be “looking for someone who can come in and do the job,” without needing a lot of training or supervision, said John Challenger, CEO of the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Workers in their 50s or older can bring that added value, he said.

With the aging of the baby boomers — the generation born between 1946 and 1964 — the percentage of workers age 55 and older in the labor force is expected to jump from 19.5 percent in 2010 to 25.2 percent by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For those contemplating new jobs, Challenger said it’s easier to change industries than to change functions.

“If you’re a salesperson in a professional services firm, you can go do that in a banking organization,” he said, as an example.

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