Workforce Trends: How Baby Boomer Retirement Will Change the Workplace in the Next Decade. You Ready?

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baby-boomers1In the past, people retired, on average, at age 60. The Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964) talk about retiring at 69, except if they don’t, because they need the salary, or just like working. And they could work for quite a while yet.  Look at how many people are now living to 100!

If the Baby Boomers don’t retire, healthcare and pension costs are going to skyrocket and organizations will have personnel challenges that range from keeping an older workforce up-to-date and figuring out the protocol when a Boomer reports to someone who’s young enough to be his granddaughter.

On the other hand, if they do retire, organizations will lose a lot of talent. One of my manufacturing clients has plants where more than half of their workers are at least 58 years old. They have to replace that work pool very soon, or risk having to shut down plants.

And in white-collar companies, the risk is that “retiring” Boomers will walk out, start their own companies, and come back as your competition.

But whether your company is white collar or blue collar, retiring Boomers are going to be hard to replace because Generation X is small, and also because Generation Y has a different concept of how they want to work.


My Wall Street clients are handling the generational problem through sales and training. To sum it up, wire houses have a high ACAT out rate, which means that many of their assets are moved to the competition when a family’s matriarch or patriarch dies.

How did this happen?  Financial advisors weren’t paying enough attention to the children and grandchildren of their clients. So when the clients died, their children moved the account to another financial advisor. Given how many Baby Boomers and Traditionalists are aging, these banks are potentially losing a large amount of money.

So my clients are focusing on a Sales Solution, to educate their financial advisors in how to work with Gen X and Gen Y. These are generations that cannot be ignored by any business that expects to be viable in the next 5-10 years. 80 million members of Generation Y are going to need financial advice. If Wall Street doesn’t provide it, someone else will. Their sales and training solutions will help them keep their assets under management.

This is one of many trends that are going to be front and center for the next 10 to 15 years. Others are women leaving the corporate world and becoming competition, the rise of the new majority and the incredible increase of temporary and contract workers. Infographics about women in the workforce and education trends in relation to the new majority can provide a great dose of reality. It’s a good idea to think about whether your management team is ready to handle them.


Note: Many of the statistics presented in this blog series have been pulled from Deloitte’s Human Capital consulting resources and The Gender Dividend report. If you have a question about any of the information in these blogs, please contact me.  

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