As Gen Xers reach midlife, they are emerging as one of the most active age cohorts and an overlooked pool of leadership and entrepreneurial talent. Here are five interesting facts about Gen X at midlife:
- Gen Xers like their jobs – They are both more likely to be employed and be more satisfied with their jobs than Americans in general.
- But feel stuck in their careers – Boomers are delaying retirement and ambitious Millennials are leapfrogging into management positions. “41% of Xers are unsatisfied with their current rate of advancement and 49% feel stalled in their careers.”
- They are under financial stress – While all generations have suffered from the Great Recession and the housing bust, Xers have been at the forefront of every economic shock and blow to middle-class incomes since the 1980s. They worry they won’t be able to afford higher education for their kids, won’t be able to support their retiring parents, and won’t be able to rely on Social Security.
- Yet they are happy and maintain excellent life balance – Along with their exceptionally high commitments to work and family, Gen Xers still manage to engage in myriad of professional and community activities and are happy with their lives.
Lastly, and very importantly…
- They are embracing entrepreneurship – Millions of Xers have turned their career challenges into an advantage by embracing entrepreneurship, more than any other living generation: In fact, nearly 40 percent of Gen X men and more than a quarter of Gen X women aspire to be entrepreneurs. In many cases, they do it alongside their full-time job. They are ambitious, resilient, and technologically adept. From gourmet cupcakes to Google, Gen Xers launched businesses at three times the rate boomers did while age 25 to 35, according to research by the Center for Work-Life Policy and reported by Bloomberg here.
Groups like the Kauffman Foundation understand the importance of early stage companies to the economic future of the US. In fact, Kauffman research shows that startups are responsible for almost all net job growth in the U.S. economy for all but seven years (going back to 1977), and the top 1% of high-growth startups generate almost 10% of all new jobs. That’s why Kauffman has teamed up with the Case Foundation to launch the Startup America Partnership, a privately funded nonprofit, which connects entrepreneurs with the resources, networks and opportunities they need to grow.
With this kind of support, Gen X’s leadership and passion for starting businesses will continue to be an important part of the next phase of the US economic recovery.