According to new research from Civic Ventures, 31 million people ages 44 to 70 want encore careers combining personal meaning, continued income and social impact, but they have trouble making the financial transition.
Among the 9 million people who are already employed in encore careers, two in three report facing reduced or no income during the transition.
“There's a big payoff from encore careers, for individuals and for our entire society,” says Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Civic Ventures. “But making the switch is hard. Employers, policymakers and all of us in our own lives need to think creatively about how to make the investments in encore transitions that lead to these new, more fulfilling careers.”
The research also suggests that 9 million people ages 44 to 70 who are already in encore careers first thought about these positions at age 50 and took approximately 18 months to transition. To prepare for their encore careers, 23 percent of respondents participated in local volunteer programs while 20 percent of respondents enrolled in education or training courses. Another 13 percent of respondents volunteered at their local places of worship.
Although they are interested in encore careers, 40 percent of respondents say they are not in the financial position to change careers in this economy. Twenty-nine percent of respondents say they do not know which type of career to pursue, and 16 percent of respondents say they do not have the time to explore a new career.
For those interested in encore careers, 44 percent of respondents say there is a need for transitional support through grants and scholarships for training and education, and 40 percent of respondents say volunteer programs are necessary. Hands-on experience through community service programs is also a need, according to 36 percent of respondents, while additional education through community colleges or other schools is considered necessary by 34 percent of respondents.
Sixty-seven percent of respondents already in encore careers report facing gaps in their personal income during the transition, and 24 percent of respondents say they earned no money. Another 43 percent of respondents say they earned much less during the transition than they earned at their previous jobs. Among those respondents who had little to no income, 79 percent say they experienced a gap of six months or more. Thirty-six percent of respondents say their income gap occurred for more than two years and 65 percent of respondents say they used only their personal savings as income.