Report: Retirees adopting gig economy work
- Retired boomers can pump up the gig economy as well as their income by freelancing, CBS News reports. Retirees who work on the side can still supplement their income from Social Security, pensions, 401ks, savings and other financial sources.
- According to CBS, 40% of workers between 53 and 64 are freelancing. Uber said that 24% of its workers are over 50, while that same measure stands at 25% for dog-sitter service Rover.com. Airbnb says its most successful and fastest-growing group of hosts consists of women age 60 and over, per CBS.
- At the same time, retirees may not want to deal with an uncertain income, lack of benefits and/or tax obligations. But gig work is more than just a way to earn more: retirees gain valuable contacts and avoid isolation — a problem for older people — through the gig economy, says CBS.
Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and other "gig" economy employers faced lawsuits from workers for allegedly classifying them as independent contractors rather than employees. That may be a barrier to retirees looking for a more concrete, less legally vague employment situation.
Even so, many retirees aren't looking to be on an employer's payroll — some simply want to work independently. They're also less likely to be interested in unionization, unemployment insurance and physically stressful jobs requiring workers' compensation coverage.
More importantly, older generations of workers really want to stay in the workforce. Concurrent with the BLS statistics that show 9 million Baby Boomers over the age of 65 continue to work, unemployment and retirement rates among older workers have also dropped. This is the case despite seemingly rampant ageism and job application sites that older workers say may unjustly hurt their prospects.
Employers looking to hire qualified freelancers for ongoing projects and to fill the skills gap could create freelance talent pipelines with highly skilled, reliable retirees. By 2020, more than 40% of the workforce will be independent contractors or freelancers, and that number might not even include retirees.
Bipartisan groups of lawmakers have met to discuss updating decades-old labor laws to accommodate the burgeoning gig economy, and some gig economy employers are finding that their model works better when they offer employees the same benefits afforded to others. Employers may want to consider how these factors could impact their appeal to older workers.