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Boomers’ Delayed Retirements Good for Employers, Employees

Many baby boomers are choosing to delay retirement. However, this can be a positive trend for employers and workers of all generations, according to the ADP Research Institute.

Rising numbers of workers 55 and older often need to continue to work, either because they don’t have adequate savings to retire, or they have knowledge that is extremely valuable to their employers and hasn’t yet been passed down to younger co-workers.

As such, there is great demand for boomers and their skillset, and an opportunity for employers to connect seasoned employees with millennials to ensure a smooth and successful transfer of knowledge. Perhaps most compelling of all is the opportunity for employers to make the most of their boomer employees through talent retention and mentorship programs, for example.

Boomers Remaining on the Job Longer

Many boomers are choosing to linger longer at their 9-to-5 gig due to financial constraints. Recently, Money magazine pointed out that more than half of boomers have less than $50,000 in retirement savings. Moreover, research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) reports that 26% of workers plan to work until age 70, and another 6% believe they won’t be able to retire.

Employer demand is another factor keeping boomers on the job. The 55 and older demographic experienced 4.8% job growth during the first quarter of 2017, higher than any other age group, according to ADP Workforce Vitality Report (WVR). Many companies have launched targeted retention programs because they recognize their veteran staffers’s value.

Pew Research Center forecasts a 10% reduction in the boomer workforce in the next 10-12 years. However, many are retiring without first “downloading” key information and skills to their younger peers, leaving an enormous knowledge gap that is often detrimental to organizations at all levels.

That’s one reason why employers are getting so creative with their talent retention programs. These range from unique work arrangements for older workers (snowbirds moving south in the winter to perform their jobs in warmer climates, for example) to early “retirements,” where employees work reduced hours to help them transition into retirement with more financial security.

Opportunities for Younger Employees

Jobs are growing across all generations — not just boomers, according to ADP’s WVR. With boomers sticking around longer, there is a tremendous opportunity for employers to tap their knowledge and skills to help increase engagement among younger employees.

Mentorship programs provide boomers an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the workplace by sharing valuable knowledge and skills with younger workers. At the same time, such interactions help expose millennials to mentors who can help them develop their skillset and grow professionally early in their careers.

Employers should consider their workforce demographics and create opportunities to leverage the skills and intellectual property of more seasoned employees. This will help prepare younger generations to transition into higher-level roles once their senior peers retire. In short, it’s important to tap into boomers’ knowledge bank while they are still a part of your workforce, and ensure that information is retained and carried on by future generations to ensure their success, and that of your organization, for many years to come.

Robyn Kurdek

Robyn Kurdek

Freelance writer with nearly 2 decades of financial industry experience, with niche expertise in the defined contribution (DC) industry. I also have defined benefit (DB) plan knowledge. I write all types of content for retirement plan participants, sponsors and advisors, including web copy, newsletters, white papers, fact sheets, blog posts, financial wellness articles, and more. "I speak DC."
Robyn Kurdek