How Baby Boomers Could Save Our Economy

Ray B. Williams
July 15, 2009 — 2,777 views  
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Much has been written and discussed about the massive number of Baby Boomers who are retiring or about to retire, and the impact on the workplace. What are Boomers going to do with their lives? Here's two developing trends that may have a significant impact on the workplace and our economy: Temp workers and entrepreneurial start ups.

As reported in an article by Ali McConnon in the June 30, 2009 issue of BusinessWeek, the recession is hitting recruiting firms hard. For example, Robert Half International sales plummeted by 30% in the first quarter of 2009, as companies were reluctant to hire temp workers. Half is boosting its bottom line once hiring picks up by dipping into a pool of highly skilled Baby Boomers looking for work.

The current financial turmoil is shifting the traditional workplace demographics. The fastest area of employee hiring is made up of low-to-mid level employees with 15-20 years experience. Many Boomers, faced with a reduced 401K or pension believe that they can't stop working.

An influx of highly skilled temps can benefit recruiters. Such workers are more attractive than younger employees because companies are prepared to pay more to get a proven and experienced employee who needs less training compared to younger workers. And while younger workers tend to look at temp work as a bridge or transition to full time work, Boomers seeking work are more interested in part time work to augment their income. Recruiters are now working cooperatively with such organizations as the AARP and CARP to recruit Boomers.

A second trend for Boomers is entrepreneurship. In an article in the National Post on June 30,2009 by Tony Wanless, he argues that the economic recovery may be led by small business entrepreneurship, not by large corporations. Wanless says that unlike retirees of the past, the millions of Boomers in North America are not looking forward to endless rounds of golf or similar activities, but instead, looking to take up careers, not as employees but as entrepreneurs.

Wanless says current Boomers are healthier than any previous generation; and they have a thirst for adventure, achievement and meaning in life. There are now 80 million Boomers in North America, and according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which studies entrepreneurship, an entrepreneurial boom powered by the Boomers, will drive the economic recovery.

So whether they bolster the recruitment of talent through temp work, or stimulate the economy by entrepreneurial activity, Baby Boomers haven't written their last story yet.

About the Author

Ray B. Williams is Co-Founder of Success IQ University and President of Ray Williams Associates, Inc., providing leadership development, personal growth, and executive coaching services.

Ray B. Williams