In a 2018 trend report, researchers at Deloitte estimate 77 million people within Europe, India, and the United States formally identify themselves as freelancers. In the US alone, 3.7 million Americans were working on-demand in 2016; an updated forecast from Intuit and Emergent Research suggests that this number will surge to 9.2 million in 2021. Gig work is often portrayed as a young person’s game—the purview of indecisive millennials who can’t commit to a “real” career path or who graduated into the recession and never landed a full-time job. At the least, on-demand work seems to require a degree of energy and technological savvy typically associated with youth. But almost one-third (31%) of Americans who work exclusively in the gig economy are baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1965.
Many are discovering that they don’t have enough money to stop working when they expected to; according to the Intuit and Emergent report, about half of American baby boomers have less than $100,000 in retirement funds. But their motives are more than monetary. Boomers in the work force—compared to millennials and Gen X-ers—were least likely to be struggling financially and most likely to say they enjoyed their work. Among those 55 and older, 32% said they were compelled, at least in part, by a desire to be around “interesting people” (compared to just 15% of workers overall). For boomers who worked in physically demanding fields, digital gig work can be a relief. Also, the flexible schedule may be especially appealing to boomers with family commitments. For others, it’s a way to finally pursue their passions.
You can find the full article at BBC Capital.