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Four Jobs Left Behind by Baby Boomers

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They’re 76 million strong and still make up one third of the workforce. They’re nearing retirement and their jobs will be up for grabs, or at least should be. Here’s how the math works out, generally speaking, of course.

There are 76 million in the baby boomer generation but only 46 million in the generation after them. You know them as the Generation X population. If the Gen. Xers move in to the positions held by the hard working baby boomers, that still leave a surplus of 30 million jobs for the taking.

Could the nation’s unemployment woes be solved largely be baby boomers retiring? According to CNN “only” 7.9 million jobs were lost due to the recession so surely, this extra 30 million will have a significant effect, won’t it?

The figures only work in the most general sense. According to The Alliance for American Manufacturing and Economic Policy Institute, 2.5 million jobs have been lost from outsourcing to other countries and another 3 million lost to robotic technology since 2000. The rate of acceleration of this trend is unknown but most agree that there will be no reversal of either of these trends as technology rapidly evolves and more emerging nations battle for manufacturing jobs from American companies.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are plenty of jobs that can’t be outsourced and are much less in danger of being lost to a robot and as baby boomers retire, these jobs will be there for the taking. Not sure what to do with your life? Here are a few ideas.

Farmers

People don’t want to be farmers any more although technology has made it a little less back breaking than generations ago. 68.5% of farmers are now over the age of 45 making it the oldest profession. Populations are growing , food prices are going up, and farmland is scarce. The job doesn’t come with a suit and corner office but it does come with the equivalent earning power of some of the top tier jobs.

Nurses

Not only are the boomers going to leave their nursing job, 73 million Americans are at the age where they will need more medical care. In 2010 there were 4.6 people working for every one person retired. That ratio goes down to 2.8 to 1 by 2030. Large shortages of nurses is projected by the time that worker to retiree ratio reaches a critical point.

Lawyers

Doesn’t the world have enough lawyers? Not even close, say industry insiders. More than 57,000 retire each year and replacing them is becoming increasingly difficult due to lower law school enrollment.

Real Estate

Real Estate may be a 10 letter phrase to many but it won’t be spoken with such distain forever. Real estate professionals including surveyors, realtors, and appraisers are well in to their 40s and with the downturn in the housing market, some have elected early retirement. When the market recovers, there will be a large shortage.

If you’re young and still planning your future or you’ve been in the workforce and you’re making a new career move, there are some jobs that are less sensitive to economic conditions than others. While it’s true that you should do what you enjoy, think about the future need for your career choice as you consider your options. Jobs like these have proven themselves to be good long term choices regardless of the economy.

{ 11 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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11 Responses to “Four Jobs Left Behind by Baby Boomers”

  1. cubiclegeoff says:

    Interesting since all I’ve heard the past several years is about how there are not enough jobs for lawyers.

  2. MK says:

    who are the “industry insiders” that you pseudo-quote about the lawyers and do they have openings in their firms? I have a few friends who are recent law school grads who’ve been for a job…

  3. Stacey says:

    I live in the heart of the farming community – rural South Dakota. You can’t possibly declare yourself a farmer and become one! Sure, there are less farmers but that’s because one farmer can handle more land than before (and needs to to turn a profit.) Anymore, to become a farmer, you have to inherit farming land by growing up in a farming family. Only a millionaire could become a farmer without having the land and expensive equipment already in the family…

  4. freeby50 says:

    There are certainly more than enough lawyers. We graduate more lawyers every year than can find work. THe Bureau of Labor Statistics states : “Competition for job openings should continue to be keen because of the large number of students graduating from law school each year.” Law school enrollment has gone up every year since 1997.

    There are also plenty of Realtors.

    I am not sure how easy it is to get a job as a farmer without buying a farm. I can’t see much opportunity there.

  5. Chris says:

    Aside from farming, I have heard that the other three areas of concern already have a large supply of people. I know a few people in nursing, and it’s been more of a case of their being underemployed rather than the great promises of full-time employment with a nice salary. Likewise, law schools seem to churn out more than demand dictates, leading to schools lauding the efforts of the graduated. I recently read an article that indicated very unflattering statistics for law school grads. Are the jobs that are out there located in small towns? Maybe in the boonies? Again, real estate seems to be another career in which the field is already saturated, and it doesn’t take much effort to continue to work in that field, much like law, well beyond typical retirement. Farming, however, seems to be out there. I completely agree with Stacey’s comment because, quite frankly, your average Joe can’t afford the amount of land necessary to make a profit.

  6. Evan says:

    I am almost positive you are completely wrong about lawyers. What is the source you based that on?

  7. harry says:

    This article is so far off base it is simply ridiculous. Law school is one of the easiest graduate programs to enroll in and the jobs are just as scarce as other industries..

  8. Husker Avid says:

    I agree, it is impossible to become a farmer without inheriting land and equipment.

    There are jobs serving and selling to farmers in the gigantic ag industry.

  9. Shirley says:

    I doubt that a large segment of Baby Boomers are going to retire at their eligible age. Many will work as long as they physically can because the present economy requires it. The last four years have made a big difference in that choice.

  10. A Baby Boomer’s decision to postpone retirement is all good and well for the individual baby boomer. But it is problematic for the economy. For it reduces job creation and makes it difficult for recent college graduates to launch their careers. Bill

  11. pwnguin says:

    “More than 57,000 retire each year”. And how many of those are being asked to retire early?


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