The Boomer Generation, or Baby Boomers, are those born between 1946 and 1964. After WW2, there was a baby boom until the pill hit main street in America. Alone in the U.S., there are 78 million boomers. Last year, the first Boomers turned 65 – retirement age. Today, we are witnessing 10,000 boomers going into retirement PER DAY alone in the United States. This trend will continue to occur for the next 16 years.
According to the January 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, there are 38 million Americans between 55 – 64 and 41 million who are 65 and older. Of the 55 – 64 year-olds, 64 percent are still working. Of the retirees, 18 percent are still working. 81 percent of 45 – 54 year-old Americans are still working.
I could bore you with comparative statistics, but would rather get to the paradigm dilemma at hand: on the one hand, we see more and more 65+ needing to work, indeed working and living a lot longer. On the other side, thanks to economic downturns and the resulting reduction of jobs by firms, the fact that more senior personnel are more expensive, and by the limited job mobility of boomers vis-a-vis Gen X and Gen Y, we see more and more Boomers between 45 and 65 getting laid off. These still-working-Boomers, along with the youngest segment of the Millennials, feel the economic crunch the most. Young Millennials don’t find great jobs, older Boomers are forced out of good positions.
What is “society” to do about this conundrum? What is the responsiblity of firms to society as well as to their shareholders? I do not expect this trend – especially for 45+ year-olds to improve.
What do you think?