July 20 – The embedded knowledge base and skills that baby boomers have accumulated over decades of experience are key to the successful running of America’s corporations and institutions. Yet a recent survey by Manpower revealed that only 21 percent have implemented retention strategies to keep them participating in the workforce.
If you are nearing retirement but want to keep on working – either because you want to or because of economic necessity – this phenomenon is something you might be able to capitalize on.
“Older workers have different needs than younger workers, and in order to meet those needs, their job preferences, personal interests and preferred work-styles must be assessed,” said Sharon Birkman-Fink, President and CEO of Birkman International.
Baby boomers are a significant percentage of the current workforce, and are nearly ready for retirement. Experts expect tremendous gaps in competencies and know-how as a result of this demographic wave. By the time many businesses wake up to this loss, it may be too late.Several industries, including electric utilities, oil and gas production, healthcare and the public sector, are already feeling the effects of baby boomer retirements.
“This could be catastrophic, considering that those best able to train replacements will be those that are leaving,” said Birkman-Fink.
How you can use this trend to your advantage
If you would like to continue working past normal retirement age with your current employer, the first thing you should do is open up a dialogue with your manager (or perhaps human resources). Let them know that you might be interested in continuing on, but perhaps under different circumstances. Perhaps you might want to work remotely, on a reduced schedule, or in a different position or location. Negotiations like this need to be thought out carefully. First you need to think through what it is that you want, and in what priority. You also want to make sure that your employer realizes what you bring to the party in terms of attitude, experience, and institutional memory. If your record is strong and your skills are difficult to replace, you just might have some very good leverage to get a situation that is favorable to you and your interests.