Almost one-half of 150 senior executives in 1000 major American companies state that the most significant event for corporations in the next decade will be Baby Boomers' coming of age to retire. This statistic is based on a survey developed by Robert Half International. What is the impact of this?
A brain drain of the most experienced and knowledgeable upper level employees is expected. Baby Boomers say, however, that as a group they intend to stay active and engaged past the traditional retirement age. What's driving them?
Some employees realize they have to earn money as they might have started families later in life and now have children to put through college or they're on their second families. Others didn't accurately gauge their need to save and invest when they were younger. But, many say they want to remain engaged in stimulating work challenges regardless of the financial impact. They like to feel that their contribution is meaningful.They also thrive on the interaction of the work environment.
How can employers retain these seasoned employees? Innovative companies are creating new positions for people in their 50s and 60s who want to continue working. They're staying on asmentors, consultants, and trainers, so that their accumulated wisdom will continue to nourish the industry they've spent so many years in.
They're also being accommodated in other ways that appeal to this group. They might be offered flex-time or part-time hours, or telecommuting opportunities. Some even are negotiating a way to work for 8 months of the year and spend the other 4 traveling or living in a warmer climate.
If you are approaching the time when you're thinking of "retiring," consider what your company is willing to do to meet your need to shift gears or downshift. Let me know what you encounter and share your experiences of how you might have influenced your employer to think "out of the box" about your request.