Baby boomers working jobs in the gig economy are raking in more money than younger workers, are far less financially stressed and are typically more content with their situation, according to a study recently published by Prudential Financial.
Boomers – those above 56-years-old, make an average of $43,600 a year while working 25 hours a week. This compares to Gen Xers (36-55) at $36,300 per year and Millennials (18-35) at $27,500. The younger generations are also working longer hours per week, with GenX at 30 hours and Millennials clocking in an average of 26 hours weekly.
The reason behind the variance in income may be because boomers – due to their age – have more hard-to-find skills in fields in which Boomers appear well qualified, compared to younger and less experienced cohorts.
There are other factors making boomers in the gig economy happy:
“Boomer gig workers are enjoying not only higher levels of income, but also are more likely to be married,” said Jim Mahaney, vice president of strategic initiatives at Prudential Financial, in an email to AARP.
“This means that not only are they more likely to have access to employer-sponsored benefits, but that they are less likely to be the sole source of income as well. These factors, we believe, lead to higher degrees of satisfaction than younger generations of gig workers.”
Surprisingly, just 32% of boomers are their household’s sole source of income, vs 49% of Gen-X and 36% of Millennials, which may be linked to the fact that more boomers are married. While 60% of Boomers are married, just 52% of millennials and 39% of Gen-X have a spouse.
This also ties into the motivation behind gig work.
For Boomers and Gen-X, financial worries and making ends meet are the primary concern (46% and 59% respectively). Meanwhile, 75% of Millennials said their gig work is lifestyle related – a number that is high enough to conclude that most live with their parents.
Another factor in higher income among boomers in the gig economy is the fact that they have a higher concentration of hard-to-find, or specialty skills in which they are qualified. The survey suggests that construction, installation and repair jobs are more popular among Boomers – fields which have experienced worker shortages.
Meanwhile, just 19% of boomers say they use online platforms to find work or generate business – as compared with almost half of millennial gig workers.
So it sounds like getting your hands dirty in a high-demand field while being married is the way to go, meanwhile for those 35 and under, the likelihood of ever exiting the parents’ basement grows slimmer by the day.
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