Baby Boomers Staying Put in Jobs

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Wanderlust baby boomers, both men and women, are singing a different tune in the workplace. Instead of retiring, taking a crack at becoming entrepreneurs, requesting sabbaticals, or simply changing jobs, they're staying put. That's lousy news for Generation Y. Baby boomers are clogging up the pipelines to those well-paying jobs, found Craig Copeland of the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

About 56.8 percent of boomer males 60 to 64 who are still working have been in their current jobs 10 years or more. That's up from 48.1 percent in 2006 -- before the severe downturn scared them into staying put. In general, women used to have less job stability than men. But boomer women are essentially about neck and neck with the men in not job hopping. This year, their median time in one job is now about 9.7 years. In 1963, it was 7.8 years.

How can Generation Y gain access to more opportunity? Here are some tactics:

Youth industries. Migrate to fields, ranging from entertainment to new media, that are known to be youth-oriented. Baby boomers get knocked out of the box in those on two counts: their age and their high salary, as well as the medical benefits they may consume.

Befriend baby boomers. Right now, the generational war has replaced the class war. Each generation is watching out for the backs of members of its own generation. However, if you can find common ground with baby boomers, they can open doors for you. It's likely that they will welcome relationships with other generations. You can give them access to briefings on everything from new technology to moonlighting opportunities for them to pick up a few extra bucks. They need the money.

Take on a persona of gravitas. Youth is a wonderful state of mind, but not all employers welcome that open, confident, carefree spirit. If you take on a more mature persona, you could attract the notice of the brass.

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