Baby Boomers Are Working Longer

Recent survey suggests that the Great Recession is causing the generation to remain working for longer.

September 08, 2016

LOS ANGELES – Baby Boomers (born 1946–1964) are still some the most motivated and driven members of the workforce, according to a survey by the Futurestep division of Korn Ferry. The survey also revealed that this demographic will be working for far longer following the global recession, and businesses should expect to have them in the workplace for at least five years longer.

In a survey of global executives that looked at the role of Baby Boomers, 55% stated that they are willing to work longer hours than other generations, and were considered the second most productive generation after Gen X. Nearly a third (31%) felt they needed less feedback than millennials or Gen X employees, demonstrating how Boomers are also seen as reliable, in addition to hardworking.

“It’s clear from the results that the Baby Boomer generation still forms an integral part of the backbone of businesses today,” said Jeanne MacDonald, Futurestep president of global talent acquisition solutions. “There has been so much talk about millennials in the workplace and their impact that many organizations forget that Baby Boomers are still a vital part of the workforce. Our survey has revealed that they are dedicated, hardworking and reliable, while still having a desire to drive progress.”

When asked more broadly about Baby Boomers in the workplace, more than half (54%) said that offering them the “opportunity to make an impact on the business” was the best way to retain Boomer talent. This far outstrips the ambition of other generations, with just over a quarter (28%) of executives surveyed indicating that making an impact at work was the key motivator for millennials, highlighting just how integral Baby Boomers are to businesses today. The survey also revealed that employers are eager to take advantage of the experience Baby Boomers have, with 50% considering “experience and expertise” as the main reasons for bringing them into a business.

“Our survey has shown that Boomers are every bit as ambitious and passionate as other generations,” continued MacDonald. “Couple this drive with extensive experience and you are presented with a force to be reckoned with in the workplace. With this in mind, employers need to ensure that they attract and retain the best talent across all generations in order to drive business success and futureproof their organization.”

The survey also reveals that the Great Recession has had an impact on the retirement plans of Baby Boomers. Eighty-one percent of executives surveyed now believe that Boomers will retire at least five years later than they had planned prior to the recession, with 31% saying they will retire 10 years or more later. In addition, 43% of respondents say Baby Boomers in their organization will retire at age 66 or older.

“While many in the Baby Boomer generation are working longer to provide more financial security after seeing their retirement account balances tumble during the Great Recession, their desire to extend their careers is not entirely financially motivated,” MacDonald said. “What is often overlooked is the fact the majority of the people in this generation are highly motivated [and] enjoy what they do, and they provide great experience and value within the global workforce.”