Challenges and Opportunities Facing Baby Boomer Job Candidates

There has been much buzz surrounding the explosive growth of the Baby Boomer and retiree segments of our population. Today, when combining the economic crisis with this population shift, the topic of employment is certainly the most popular. To get a feel for the impact of the growing Baby Boomer demographic, here are some powerful statistics:
  • The Baby Boomer demographic will grow by 49.1 percent for the next few years, five times the growth rate of the rest of the U.S. workforce.
  • From 2004-2010 workers aged 35-44 will decline by 19 percent, workers aged 45-54 will increase by 21 percent and workers aged 55-64 will increase by 52 percent.
  • Baby Boomer spending is projected to increase $800 billion to over $4.6 trillion by 2015.
  • Baby Boomers are the highest earners, best educated and largest home ownership group of any generation to date.
Baby Boomers (people born between 1946-1964) control the lion's share of the population and will do so for the next 30 plus years. They are a major driver of our economy. Many Baby Boomers are currently reaching the age of retirement. However, much of the over-50 population wants to continue working past retirement. Advancements in healthcare, as well as improved nutrition and exercise, are allowing people to work past 65. Baby Boomers cite the need for income (84 percent), boredom avoidance (78 percent) and health coverage (56 percent) as the reasons to continue working.

The good news is that Baby Boomers working even two-three years past retirement can result in a dramatic improvement to their 401(k) balance, higher Social Security benefits and less dependency on their savings. Plus, the ability to continue exercising the mind can actually extend one's life.

Why Hire Baby Boomers

Companies that embrace the talent and experience of our Baby Boomer population will win in the competitive global marketplace. They are finally realizing that their longevity is contingent on understanding these trends. They are loyal, possess significant interpersonal skills and are flexible in terms of schedules, benefits and pay. They are also tech savvy—in 1990 the desk of every 40-year-old worker had a PC. Those same workers are now 59 with 19 years of computer experience and have been online since the advent of the Web. As a result, companies are starting to develop programs to hire and retain Baby Boomer workers.

Where Can Baby Boomer Job Candidates Turn?

Baby Boomer job candidates can turn to head hunters, staffing agencies and even classifieds. Online services such as and AARP do a great job as well.

Another powerful resource for job seekers is their Alma Mater. Schools and alumni associations across all education levels are starting to pay close attention to the employment needs of Baby Boomer alumni. These are great venues for Baby Boomer job candidates to go for job search as well as up-to-date advice and best practices. Many schools even offer "lifetime career services" in their mission statements. Thanks to the proliferation of social and professional networks and Web-based alumni associations, more and more Baby Boomer alumni are connected to their schools daily. These networks are also the perfect place for employers to post their jobs in a sea of talent.

There are certainly challenges facing Baby Boomer job candidates today. However, their mass experience and talent yields an opportunity to drive the U.S. workforce to new heights. We will see a significant economic recovery as employers embrace this growing trend of hiring Baby Boomers.