Seniors Choose Boardroom over Shuffleboard

Anyone who thinks entrepreneurship is a young person's game can think again.

Seniors Choose Boardroom
over Shuffleboard

Findings from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show entrepreneurial activity among older Americans has grown. In fact, those over 75 have the highest rate of self-employment of any age group.

Scott Shane, PhD, an expert in entrepreneurship at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management, says unincorporated self-employment rates usually skew toward an older crowd—as these figures include independent contractors and consultants, positions that appeal to older people for tax and benefits reasons. However, the rate of incorporated self-employment, which Shane says is a more accurate measure of entrepreneurship, currently leans toward an older crowd as well.

"That's what surprised me," Shane says. "The peak age for this kind of entrepreneurial activity is in the 65 to 69 age group. That's four times higher than 25- to 34-year-olds—and 25 times higher than 20- to 24-year-olds."

Shane says it's hard to pinpoint a reason for this trend. It's possible that today's seniors are more entrepreneurial by nature.

Maybe fewer employment options are open to them. Or perhaps they simply aren't content to hang up their briefcases and hit the bingo hall.