Baby Boomers: You’re Out!

Wait, not so fast!

A study from the American Society of Training and Development shows that 76 million Baby Boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1964, intend to retire within the next twenty years.  Contrast the size of that generation with the two generations that follow (Generations X (those born between 1965 and 1979) and Y (those born after 1980), which collectively number only 46 million workers.

The initial dilemma appears to be that there will not be enough workers to fill the positions that will be vacated.  However, there is more to the dilemma than just filling the spots.  The Baby Boomers Generation is a generation made up of aggressive, creative and highly skilled individuals.  As they depart the workforce, they take with them a unique blend of knowledge, skills, and abilities.  Even though the new generations possess their own unique abilities – both groups need to understand the importance of merging their talents.  The real dilemma is how to create a multi-generational workforce where employers can retain the talent of the Baby Boomers while at the same time recruit the great technical knowledge of the Millenials.

The workforce is changing quickly.  Most companies are already at the stage where there is a mix of Baby Boomers and Generations X / Y among the employees.  Such a diverse workplace can present problems, but more importantly, it is overflowing with potential and advantage.  As stated earlier, the Baby Boomers bring to the table highly skilled experience.  But the younger workers were bred and raised in technology and outpace their progenitors in the latest implementations.

Cross training in the workforce is essential.  The younger workers must mentor the older ones with their knowledge in technology.  This enables the more-seasoned to develop additional skills to help them remain on the workforce longer and possibly protecting themselves from being forced into retirement earlier than they would like.  At the same time, the Boomers can pass along the experience and wisdom that enabled them to achieve so much success in decades past.  While times may have changed, true principles have not.

In any case, it will also be an issue of survival for employers.  The National Association of Manufacturers warns in a new report that “Corporate America is facing a potentially mammoth talent crunch”.  It would be wise for companies to assess the changing needs of their workforces to ensure a smooth transition of the valuable assets of one generation and retain the technological savvy of the next group.

Kristine Wentz – Is a Tax Manager of Wertz & Company, LLP, a Professional Services Firm located in Orange County, CA that specializes in working with entrepreneurs along their journey to success.