Bye-Bye Boomers: What It Means For Millennials

baby boomers

The Baby Boom generation has begun to retire. Within the next 5 years about 18% of the workforce is expected to retire.

What does this mean for professionals on the earlier end of the career curve? Quite a bit.

Here’s what to expect as the age composition of the workforce shifts.

Lower Youth Unemployment

Right now, unemployment for Millennials and more recent graduates (those age 30 and under) is disproportionately high (over 15% compared to roughly 8% for the workforce as a whole).

A wave of boomer retirement could help reduce these numbers, giving the early career professionals more opportunity to break into the working world.

Changing Corporate Culture

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 68% of HR professionals believe the large numbers of boomers leaving the workforce will have a major impact on the workplace. Generational differences are fairly dramatic, especially when it comes to communication, management style, motivation, work ethic, and team dynamics.

What this means for the workplace is still yet to be determined, but it stands to reason that we’ll see some significant cultural changes as Gen Xers and Millennials take the reins. Specifics include greater flexibility in scheduling, reduced hierarchy, increased collaboration, and a less formal/more business casual environment.

More Advancement Opportunities

As Boomers transition out of leadership roles, opportunities will open up for younger staff to advance. However, HR professionals aren’t hiding their worry, citing a lack of skills in the domestic labor pool. In fact, many are exploring outsourcing as a means of filling this gap in the future.

The takeaway for early career professionals: Don’t assume advancement is a sure thing once the Boomers are gone. Now’s the time to gain the skills you need to be a competitive asset worthy of promotion. Specifically, HR professionals find early career types lacking in overall professionalism, written communication and analytical skills, and general business knowledge.

Due to the economic realities of retirement, some Baby Boomers will likely choose to continue working well into their 70’s. But sooner or later, the shift will happen and the modern-day workplace will look very different as a result. What it ultimately means for your career, will all depend on how you prepare for the this future of opportunities.

About the Author

Chrissy Scivicque is a career coach, corporate trainer and public speaker who believes work can be a nourishing part of the life experience. Her website, Eat Your Career, is devoted to this mission. Chrissy is currently a contributing career expert for U.S. News & World Report and the author of the book, The Proactive Professional: How to Stop Playing Catch Up and Start Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life!), available on Amazon.