Baby Boomers: Bored with work?

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Baby Boomers
Dr Francis Collins

WHO ARE THESE ENGAGED BOOMERS? Think of Dr. Francis Collins, born in 1950 and soon to be 65 years old. He is a world-famous physician-geneticist, a best-selling author, a musician, a winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and currently works as the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Maryland. Among his latest projects is an effort to reduce the use of chimpanzees in NIH research. Highly engaged? Certainly.

Boomers are retiring at a rate of 10,000+ a day, but many are still working. How do those still working feel about their work? Are they still enthusiastic—or ready to be done with it?

Boomers are retiring, but this week we learned that they are retiring at the same ages and rates as previous generations. Boomers are more depressed than other generations. They tend to be conservatives rather than liberals. And, for some reason, they don’t trust banks. If they’re still working, how do they feel about their work?

The oldest Baby Boomers turn 69 this year, having worked for 40 or 50 years. You’d think they’d be “done” with work.
Not so.

The oldest boomers (60+) are more engaged at work than boomers who are 50-59 years old, according to Gallup. Over a third (35%) of the oldest boomers are “engaged” at work, compared to 31% of younger boomers (50-59) who are similarly “engaged.” Engaged employees are enthusiastic, involved, and committed at work.

Engagement varies directly with age, Gallup finds. Millennials are the least engaged at work, while Traditionalists are the most engaged.

At the other end of the engagement scale, about equal proportions of these two boomer groups are “actively disengaged” at work (18% of the 60+ group, 19% of the 50-59 group). Those who are actively disengaged are contrary, uncooperative, and even destructive.

But the largest ranks of both groups are filled with those who are “not engaged” at work—they put in their time, punch the clock, and don’t feel especially positive or negative about their work. Perhaps they are ready to be done.

Of the boomer facts we discussed this week, which surprised you the most?

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