The baby boomer generation makes up more than one-third of the U.S. population. They represent a total income estimated to be well over 900 billion dollars — give or take a billion or two after the recession hit. Boomers are still the wealthiest, best educated, and most sophisticated purchasers, not to mention well-preserved, and they represent a dramatic 40 percent of total consumer demand.
The bad news for baby boomers is that they are getting old. The good news for you, if you are willing to pick up the pieces, is that this aging process is creating jobs. Boomers are creating a demand for (legal) drugs, health services, and medical supplies. Healthcare, which today makes up 16 percent of the gross national product, is three times bigger than it was in 1960, according to the Kaiser Foundation. Consequently, job openings in the healthcare field continue to grow, says a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Since June 2007, healthcare has added 348,000 jobs. In June of 2009 alone, 15,000 jobs were added in the field, 13,000 in ambulatory services. And the numbers keep growing. According to the AARP, there are currently 16,000 nursing homes in the United States, 39,500 assisted living facilities, 1,900 continuing care retirement communities, and 300,000 units of Section 202 affordable housing for the elderly. The waiting list for Section 202s averages 13.4 months. Currently, there are 1.4 million nursing-home residents, 900,000 residents in assisted-living facilities, 750,000 independent-living residents, some 150,000 use adult day services, and 1.4 million utilize home health. But that’s just today — only about half of the senior population anticipated when the boomers hit 70 and 80.
Companies that manufacture home healthcare products, such as walkers and wheelchairs, will be prospering in the next decade. This means that factory, sales, and management jobs will start popping up just as boomers’ knees start giving out. Companies such as qualitymedicalsupplies.com and alliancemedequip.com also offer jobs in this “hip” industry.
Boomers want to spend their last days in good health and comfort, so if you have a great idea for hot-pink wheelchairs or zebra-print shower chairs, get it designed and hit the patent office like some of these other brilliant minds have done.
SharpBrains, a marketing firm which tracks mental health products, reports the U.S. brain fitness industry is predicted to exceed $2 billion by 2015. Open your mind and check out these places for jobs in this new industry; Vibrantbrains.com, sharpbrains.com, and positscience.com offer stimulating careers.
Boomers are obsessed with not only acting and thinking young but looking young. They are fixated on external beauty, so here’s your chance to capitalize on their vanity. Aging baby boomers are seeking out the Fountain of Youth more than ever. Whether it’s to combat new wrinkles or for relaxation, they’re rushing into day spas and destination spas. Careers as estheticians and in plastic surgeons’ offices are as plentiful as the wrinkles on a boomer’s face. Estheticianjobs.com as well as skinscienceinstitute.com are great places to start your search for a gig in a spa, hotel, resort, or doctor’s office.
If you previously worked as an administrative assistant or a receptionist, there are plastic surgeons that need front and back office help. In addition to a paycheck, the perks of Botox and silicon are great benefits. Medhunters.com and medicalworkers.com are two great sites to start your search for office jobs where you get to look at “before” and “after” people all day.
Massage is another avenue that has become a hot seller. There are millions of boomers waiting for you to poke, prod, and knead them — all in the name of youth. Massageenvy.com and massagefranchisereview.com are two sites where you can find relaxing franchise opportunities. Another great resource is alternativehealthbusiness.com.
In the end, boomers will be great for the job market. It’s up to you to figure out how you’re going to take their money while creating a new life, a new job and a new attitude for yourself. What are you waiting for? They’re not getting any younger!
Candice Reed is the co-author of Thank You for Firing Me! How to Catch the Next Wave of Success After You Lose Your Job. For more information check out thankyouforfiringme.org.