Labor market sees uptick of Baby Boomers in the workplace
- Baby boomers are retiring in waves, but still keeping the workforce afloat, says SHRM. The percentage of people who are employed or job hunting dropped from 66%, where it had been for a while, to 63%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed. The drop was attributed to retirement among boomers.
- But new research shows an uptick in boomers in the workplace. Ellyn Terry, bank economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, writes that the retirement rates dropped 0.15 points in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared with the fourth quarter of 2015.
- Based on BLS data, SHRM says boomers have been successful in getting and keeping jobs. Their unemployment rate in February was 3.4%, down from 3.8% a year ago, and below the average monthly rate overall of 4.7%.
Among 1,913 HR professionals in SHRM’S Preparing for an Aging Workforce survey, 71% said boomers were more professional than younger workers (no surprise there, since boomers have been in the workforce longer) and 70% said boomers had a stronger work ethic.
Since the skill gap continues to be a concern, hiring older workers that are experienced and able to mentor younger workers is a viable option for many organizations. Boomers today are more tech-savvy, which can make them more valuable to employers willing to hire them. But they still face some obstacles with ageism, particularly in the tech industry.
Additionally, many boomers retired but found they didn’t have enough savings for a comfortable retirement and returned to work to supplement their income.