Published February 28, 2013
If you think that baby boomers are just looking to reach retirement, you may want to think again. New research has found that baby boomers are more entrepreneurial and take more risks than younger counterparts at work.
Forty-three percent of baby boomers described themselves as high risk in a recent survey, compared with just 28 percent of Generation Y respondents and 40 percent of Generation X. In the survey, people between ages 18 and 29 were considered Gen Y, people between ages 30 and 49 were considered Gen X, and people between ages 50 and 69 were considered baby boomers.
Researchers say that Gen Y workers may be less willing to take risks because they see their jobs as temporary. Fifty-five percent of Gen Y respondents say their job is only a step in their career while just 26 percent say they will stay at their job for a long time.
Not only were boomers more likely to take risks, but they were also more likely to consider themselves to be entrepreneurial. Forty-five percent of boomers called themselves entrepreneurial, compared with 32 percent of Gen Y and 41 percent of Gen Xers.
"This survey revealed that the entrepreneurial spirit resides in all of us and across all generations of workers," said Jeffrey Quinn, vice president of Global Monster Insights, which conducted the research. "Whether it’s a direct result of the current economy, or a person’s independent drive, we are seeing more and more people across generations starting their own businesses as alternatives to traditional jobs or careers. Employer-retention strategies could benefit from creating environments that encourage entrepreneurial culture and opportunities for workers."
Though not all workers feel like they are able to be entrepreneurs, 1 in 3 workers say they have the freedom and flexibility to take responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable product at their company. Forty two percent of respondents say they have the opportunity to work on projects that are outside their responsibility, but just 23 percent say they are encouraged to work on such projects.
"The Internet has created unique entrepreneurial opportunities, not just for Millennials, but for all generations of workers," said Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding and author of "Promote Yourself" (St. Martin Press, 2013). "We don’t see the same barriers to entry to starting a new business as we saw 10 years ago. Everyone has the technology to connect and now all you need is an innovative idea and a website to create a startup."
The research was based on the responses of 2,828 randomly selected Monster users.