Late in 2014, the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies released the results of its 15th annual retirement survey: “Baby Boomer Workers Are Revolutionizing Retirement – Are They and Their Employers Ready?”
The highlights section of the survey report begins by stating:
“Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) were born to be wild and their retirement promises to be even wilder.”
The survey found that what’s next for Boomers is a new model for retirement; one that paves a way drastically different from previous generations. The unretirement years for Boomers include employment past age 65 as well as:
♦ A flexible, phased transition to retirement
♦ Increased longevity, active living and healthy aging lifestyles to remain engaged and involved
♦ Part-time work or volunteerism after retirement
Yet in 2015, Millennials will outnumber Boomers in the workforce. As companies downsized during the 2008 recession, many senior executives (often Boomers) felt pressure to take buy-out plans and make way for a new crop of corporate leaders. What complicates the business landscape, according to many career consultants, is that employers exhibit a bias against older workers and many are unprepared to balance the technology savvy of young workers and the wisdom of experienced professionals.
The report offers six proactive steps Boomers can take to meet the goals of longevity in the workplace.
1. Stay healthy. With rising health care and disability costs, a healthy Baby Boomer worker, particularly one with experience in the workplace, can tend to be a very important resource to an employer.
Take action. Eat properly. Exercise. Get seven to eight hours of sleep at night.
2. Perform well on the job. Focus on showing your value at work through your knowledge, skills and your ability to mentor and lead younger employees. Remain interested and enthusiastic in your work. Continue to seek opportunities for professional growth that can increase your contributions to your employer.
3. Keep job skills up-to-date. It is crucial for Boomers to keep their workplace skills in tip-top shape. With the rapid pace of technological advances, be sure to stay current with the technological advances in your industry. Embrace change as new software and digital machinery enter your work space. Be positive, then dive in and learn.
4. Build your network. As today’s employees and employers interact on many levels outside the office, Baby Boomers would be wise to network socially or on employment-related websites to share contacts and information.
Go to industry conferences and job fairs that pertain to your line of work. If you have business cards, don’t be shy about passing them out at work-related events. Join LinkedIn or other forums related to your career.
5. Know what’s out there. Use the Internet, professional associations and job boards to familiarize yourself with the current job market. Even if you have a long work history with a company, there might be a better opportunity out there for you.
6. Return to the classroom. One of the most effective ways to accomplish items 1 through 5 is to go back to school. Look into local universities, community colleges or vocational schools to explore continuing education programs and classes you can take to learn new skills. Do this to stay active, network and potentially prepare for an encore career with greater personal meaning.
What other steps do you recommend for Boomers to remain valuable in today’s competitive job market? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.