With the rise of the “gig economy” and the decline of pensions, common wisdom holds that older generations stayed loyal to one company, while today’s young folks are likelier to hop from job to job.
But how fair is the stereotype?
A new survey released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that young boomers — those born between 1957 and 1964 — have held more than a dozen jobs on average during their working lives.
Nearly 40 years in the making, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 surveyed of 9,964 men and women who were age 14 to 22 when first interviewed in 1979 and age 51 to 60 when interviewed most recently in 2016 and 2017.
According to the data, most of these boomers’ job-hopping occurred early in their careers. On average, they held 5.7 jobs from 18 to 24.
The numbers also varied with age, education, and ethnicity. While men and women of varying ethnicities and education levels reported generally similar total numbers of jobs, there were notable discrepancies in their respective durations of employment.
While their employment histories tended to level off after that, more than a third of respondents reported spending less than a year at a job they started between the ages of 25 and 34. Three-quarters said they switched jobs in less than five years during that period.
Women, African-Americans, and Latinx boomers each had longer stints out of the work force on average than white males with bachelor’s degrees.