Report Paints Different Picture of Baby Boomer Job Hopping

The generation gap is growing. But a few recent studies are shattering some perceptions.

Gen Y has caught a lot of flack for job hopping and for having a bad case of employee disloyalty. Baby Boomer and Gen X managers claim it’s impossible to find good hires from amidst this young generation even with a shortage of jobs and a surplus of jobseekers.

But new data on who changes jobs frequently indicates that Baby Boomers might be the pot calling the kettle black.

The recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics may surprise many people.  The report shows that Late Boomers, born between 1957 and 1964, have been busy hopping between employers. In fact, between ages 18 and 44, the Late Boomers have had an average of 11 employers, which translates into a job change every 2.4 years.

Job hopping was even worse among Late Boomer men without a high school diploma. They held an average of 13.3 jobs, while men with at least a bachelor’s degree still had 11 jobs. In the case of women, uneducated ones, in fact, had fewer jobs (9.7) than their degreed counterparts (11.7 jobs).

During the time of life (ages of 18-22) when most people move between school and summer jobs, the Late Boomers held an average of 4.4 jobs. However, they kept moving even at more mature ages: they had 2.6 jobs between ages 28-32, and at ages 39-44 they still held an average of 2 jobs. Among the jobs that 39- to 44-year-olds started, one third ended in less than a year.

Job hopping isn’t simply a Gen Y problem, and any explanation that sites only the character and upbringing of young workers for perceived disloyalty doesn’t match up with the picture painted by the data.

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