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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Baby boomers being encouraged to work longer

Hello there!  I'm Matt Chadwick at the business desk and this morning I'd like to talk about more and more companies asking their aging baby boomer employees to work past retirement.  I don't think that anyone should be surprised about this simply because I don't think that many companies have done much in the way of making preparations for this eventuality.
For years now the experts have been sending out stern warnings to companies with the message that there is going to be a severe shortage of experienced labor and skills when our baby boomers start retiring and for the most part most companies have chosen to ignore this message.  Come on now!  Anyone can do the math and figure it out.  The mass exit is supposed to start or has actually started.  Anyone born between the years of  1946 and 1964 is classified as a baby boomer.  So if we look at the situation today, the first set of baby boomers turned 61 on January 01 of this year. 
What bothers me and also bothers many business experts is that everyone has known that this type of situation was going to happen no matter what but so many companies are now scrambling to keep as many of their baby boomers on for as long as possible and on the other hand many baby boomers are just dying or can't wait to retire.  Why is this?  Simple!  A recent survey of baby boomers revealed that over 80% of them who can afford it are going to retire as soon as they can because they feel that they have had enough of working.  They have identified such things as:  Stress in the workplace, their employers not being loyal enough to them, younger employees not showing enough respect, an interest in becoming their own bosses which translates into opening their own small businesses, no longer willing to work long hours for not enough money, having to deal with such variables as long hours of commuting, traffic snarls, plus more.
This is how the picture is shaping up.  On one side we have baby boomers itching to retire.  Companies working very hard to convince them to stay on past retirement.  A growing gap between skilled and experienced workers and inexperienced workers.  True it is that many of the younger workers entering the labor market these days are doing so with a bag full of skills obtained from college and university but they are unproven, inexperienced, and in need of having to learn lots on the job.  I guess that many companies were not looking at things in this way opting to follow the train of thought that it would cost much less to hire younger workers at lower salaries.  That point is true but the important factor here is that with the exit of baby boomers comes the loss of years of experience on the job.
Hopefully companies will find a way to right this picture and take the appropriate measures before it's too late.
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