“If even a small fraction of baby boomers go into encore careers, itcould have a transformative effect on industries that are so dependent on human resources to be effective,” says Freedman.
This is good news for education, health care, government and the nonprofit sectors, all of which already are experiencing critical labor shortages. A study by the Bridgespan Group—a Boston-based management consulting group for the nonprofit sector—reported that nonprofit organizations will need some 640,000 new senior leaders over the next 10 years, and that number could rise as high as 1.2 million.
Changing Public Policy
While Freedman acknowledges that those who want to pursue an “encore career” must take some of the responsibility to make that transition, he also thinks that society should meet people halfway. That’s going to require changes on many levels, he says. “We’ll probably see a dramatic increase in life coaching and workshops for more affluent people, but if we are going to tap the talent in other sectors of the boomer population, we need changes in public policy.”
In the first place, he suggests getting rid of penalties for working longer. Making affordable health care accessible could encourage active participation in encore careers, he says. Freedman also argues for the creation of new kinds of incentives, like IBM’s Transition to Teaching program, which prepares employees to take on a second career as a math or science teacher.
“And we need more online resources for people wanting to make this kind of shift,” says Freedman, who notes that most of the major job sites offer openings in other industries.