The retiring Boomers and the lack of X’ers to replace them is a well-documented problem in the labor force. The Herman Trend Alert speaks to this problem, and more importantly to a solution, in their latest newsletter:
Many Baby Boomers retirements are, in fact, often “recareering” instead. See our previous Herman Trend Alert http://www.hermangroup.com/alert/archive_5-23-2007.html. All of the major players: Adecco, Manpower, Kelly, and Spherion now offer their clients the options of rehiring their retired employees as “consultants”, thus protecting them from certain legal liabilities. Many recareering Boomers are looking for project-based work, giving their employers the advantage of not hiring them as full-time, permanent employees on the payroll.
The bottom line problem is that there is still a widespread skilled labor shortage. Employers in most industries still have a hard time finding qualified workers. Wise employers are already looking for other opportunities for their valued employees within their organizations; thus, Baby Boomers may leave their high stress, high responsibility jobs and still benefit their long-term employers with their service. A recent Spherion Emerging Work Force Study reported that 80 percent of Boomer retirees “really do want to work again in some way”. They want to keep being productive.
I’m no expert on the generations, but this strikes me as the best short-term option to solve the skilled worker shortage. Bringing Boomers back as consultants for project-based work puts a band-aid on many problems that are sure to appear in the upcoming years.