The study reports that people already in their encore career discovered that many problems that they had anticipated—like the lack of flexibility or the fear of being underappreciated—never materialized. Over 75 percent were satisfied with the salary and benefits, but the need to learn new skills and coping with a loss of seniority continued as concerns. Still, the feedback from those who have already embarked on an encore career was positive. “The message seems to be ‘try it, you’ll like it,’ ” says Freedman.
That’s certainly true for my friend Anne, who’s now working in the nonprofit sector in the area of global poverty. “Right now, there’s nothing else I’d rather do,” she says.
The survey of 3,500 men and women was conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc. by telephone and on the Internet from February through April 2008. The respondents were divided into three categories: those in encore careers, those interested in such careers and those not interested. The complete study is available at Civic Ventures.
Among the key findings related to those in encore careers:
• The majority were between the ages of 51 and 62. More than half were women.
• Most (52 percent) are engaged in professional or managerial careers, and an additional 28 percent in other white-collar occupations. Nearly one in five (18 percent) have blue-collar jobs.
• The largest group (42 percent) lives in the suburbs; 30 percent live in urban areas and 28 percent in small towns and rural areas.
• More than a third of those who chose encore careers did so for financial reasons and health benefits.
• Most reported a high level of satisfaction (84 percent) and felt they were making a difference (94 percent).
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