The next time you hail an Uber ride on your phone, the driver that shows up may look more like your parent than a millennial.
According to a recent New York Times article, Uber says the number of working drivers over 50 is now approximately 25 percent.
Uber likes older drivers because they typically own their own vehicles, have adequate car insurance and statistically have fewer accidents.
Due to the demand, Life Reimagined, a subsidiary of AARP, partnered with Uber to recruit even more senior drivers. The goal is to give Uber access to the fastest growing segment of the work force – people over 50.
There are several reasons for the increase in this segment of the workforce. These include seniors simply redefining what retirement means for them, as well as others who have retired but need extra money to get by. And as goes most boomer trends, so goes the labour force.
Critics of the trend note that driving as an independent Uber driver means these over 50s miss out on benefits. Then there are those who are turning their part-time job into a full-time position, thereby threatening their fully-retired status.
I think there is a grain of a good idea here for some who haven’t saved adequately for retirement. It also provides a much needed connection with people – always a good thing – for a group that has traditionally struggled with issues of isolation and loneliness.
Just as important, this trend gives seniors, on a fundamental level, the ability to participate in their community as a valued member.
Whatever the reason, the more engaged seniors are in their world, the better. The days of quietly drifting into old age, alone and devalued are thankfully on the decline as boomers challenge orthodoxy and redefine what retirement means to them.
Read the New York Times article here.