How Retiring Baby Boomers Affect the Job Market
The Impact of the Aging Workforce on the Technology Industry
During each day of the 18 years from 2011 to 2029, about 10,000 baby boomers are expected to reach the retirement age of 65. The generation is defined as those born between 1946 and 1964, which means the oldest members of the generation reached 65 in 2011, and the youngest members will reach that milestone in 2029. By that year, nearly one-fifth of the U.S. population will be 65 or older.
As this generation retires, the technology and IT industries will feel the impact in a few different ways. Some of these changes are great for everyone, while some of them are not so great for the baby boomers.
Flexibility in the Workplace
One of the interesting ways that the aging workforce is changing the way we work is by bringing a measure of flexibility to the office. Companies are finding that employees in this age group require different work conditions.
They are less interested in working long hours, less defined by their careers, and much more interested in part-time work. As a result of this trend, quality of life has become a key phrase—job sharing, part-time work, and flex scheduling can be partially attributed to this generation's influence.
This means you have better chances of finding a company to work for that offers these benefits to everyone since a work-life balance is becoming more important to employers.
More Job Openings
As more baby boomers retire, there are fewer replacement workers to take over. This is causing what has been referred to as a huge knowledge gap. Even if the economy is in a downturn, overall, there will still be a need for specialized workers to take over these new openings.
More importantly, retiring baby boomers are much more tech-literate than their parents and will be taking full advantage of social media and internet-connected devices like tablets, smartphones, and smart TVs. This means that technology will be more heavily marketed toward older consumers than in the past, and there could be opportunities for innovation with the influx of new/more frequent users of technology in the coming years.
A Later Retirement Age
Full retirement at age 65 is not financially viable for many baby boomers, and for those born in 1960 or later, full Social Security benefits won't be available until age 67.
As a result, many will need to continue working, at least part-time, to support themselves. This is a double-edged sword if you’re seeking employment because the niche you want to fill may still be filled by someone who just can’t afford to move on at this time.
A good strategy to counter this problem would be to make sure you’re super specialized with unique skills and experience such as by learning a new coding language. This way, you don’t necessarily have to wait for that position to be vacated to get the same kind of employment.
Wages Increase in Specialized Vacated Positions
In the labor market, and specifically in the technology job market, when there are jobs available and not enough workers, wages go up to attract and retain the necessary workers. A large group of baby boomer retirements is no exception. Most tech-related positions were projected to have some form of salary increase after 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Since companies need workers, and because it can take a long time for new workers to acquire the skills needed, tech companies will put pressure on the government to increase the number of new visas approved in a given year—most notably, the H-1B visa, since this is the one most impacted by the tech industry.