EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK: Baby Boomers Affecting Job Market by Refusing to Retire
By Space Coast Daily // January 1, 2019
Baby Boomers will remain crucial to labor market
An aging Baby Boomer population is affecting the labor market and the odd fact is that they will continue to affect the employment market even after they retire.
Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, consist of around 76 million Americans. Most are educated, stayed married, bought homes and had families. They settled into a career and many stayed at the same job for decades. They were supposed to start retiring in 2011 when they began turning 65.
They did not retire.
All indications are Baby Boomers are remaining in their jobs and careers. Analysts said that is posing some problems because younger people are stalled in their careers waiting for a management post held by a retiring Boomer to open.
Reasons, why Boomers are hanging onto their careers, aren’t clearly defined. The Department of Labor, who gathers these statistics, doesn’t ask why they aren’t leaving the workforce. However, some have speculated as to why older Americans refuse to retire.
1. The economics of 2008 made it harder for them to retire. Many had money in the stock market and suffered a huge loss, some upwards to $200,000 of their retirement investments, so they decided to keep working to make up for it.
2. Baby Boomers want to keep their lifestyles.
Many Baby Boomers have done well over the years. Reports are that at least a quarter of them own more than one home, with other homes serving as vacation homes. They like hobbies and do a lot of traveling, according to statistics. They are the largest consumer group outside of millennials and don’t want to live on a fixed income.
3. They are helping their children.
Reports are many older Americans are financially helping their children who have had job losses or have trouble making ends meet for their own families. The need to help their children can be seen as a driving factor in Baby Boomers continuing to work.
4. Baby Boomers fear the cost of growing old.
They see the rising cost of healthcare and want to stash away enough money to avoid being a burden on their children. Some have great insurance plans at their jobs, so they are reluctant to give up their benefits to go on Medicare. They also are fighting the idea of aging and its issues like sexual activity decline to incontinence.
5. They feel working keeps them younger and active.
Some have a concern that a retired lifestyle will cause them to decline in activity and health. They believe continuing to work will keep their mind and body active and help them stay healthier to avoid having to use aids like wheelchairs or canes.
As much as labor experts claim that senior citizens refusing to retire is causing labor market dilemmas, they fear an onslaught of retirements will cause even more problems. Namely, there will be a huge labor shortage. Some claim it will be the largest shortage during a generational transition than any other in American history.
The worry isn’t so much regarding lower-level jobs because new, younger workers can be quickly trained to replace them. The problem will be at the top tier jobs that involve complex ideas, independent thinking, abstract understanding, and higher-education knowledge, experts said.
These Baby Boomers took a lifetime to learn these jobs and it will be harder to train younger workers under them to take the reigns. Examples of those difficult to replace are careers like systems analysts, surgeons or scientists. The pool of candidates with the required education and experience is just too small, experts said.
Social Security officials said that, although Boomers are working longer than previous generations, the numbers are showing a standard decline in the participating workers along the lines of retirement. The trend is older workers, both men and women, start decreasing their work participation 10 years before retirement by about 40 points.
Government officials believe the participation rate will continue to wane as 25 percent of the U.S population will be at or beyond retirement age by 2029.
The future may remain to be seen, but Baby Boomers will remain crucial to the labor market no matter what when they decide to retire.
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