Boomers: We Need New Skills
While guardely optimistic about the future, most baby boomers think its more difficult for anyone over age 50 to find work in this recession.
Almost half think they don’t have the necessary skills to compete in today’s job market, a survey of 1,300 people by Thirdage,com. a boomer website.
“We are tapping into unprecedented uncertainty around economic issues, yet typical of boomers there is an underlying degree of guarded optimism that is reflective of their solution-oriented age group,” says Thirdage CEO Sharon Whitely.
When it comes to enhancing work skills, 46% say they believe they would need new or enhanced skills to be competitive in today’s job market.
But the majority view it as an option, with 25% saying that they would definitely be interested in pursuing acquisition of skills, and another 35% saying they might consider it. Forty percent say they would only learn new skills if they had to. Online classes were by far the most popular way in which respondents would opt to learn new skills (57%); followed by classes at a local community college, university, college, or extension school at 40%.
An overwhelming majority of respondents – 79% – indicated that they believe it is more difficult for those over 50 to find employment in this climate. Eighteen percent they would even dye their hair to look younger when seeking a new job. More than one-third believes it would be very difficult to find a comparable job if they were to become unemployed, while another 31% thought it would be somewhat difficult.
While only 7% of survey respondents said they are actively looking for a job, 23% are very concerned that their spouse or partner would lose their job or have hours reduced. Another 21% were somewhat concerned.
Concerns about the economic climate have taken a toll on boomers’ stress levels. Seventy-two percent reported feeling the stress of economic uncertainty. Sixteen percent are affected a great deal, while 56% report that they have been affected somewhat.