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Leveraging Baby Boomers as Contingent Labor

May 19, 2015 11:53:24 AM

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There is a well-documented generational shift occurring today across the entirety of the American workforce. The torch is being passed from the Boomer generation (the largest segment of the workforce since the early 1980s) to the Millennial generation (the new largest segment by volume). Of course the transfer of leadership roles has seen boomers relinquishing roles to Gen X and Gen Y, but as Boomers continue to age out of the workforce, they’re taking their 40+ years of experience and knowledge with them to retirement. How can US-based companies avoid suffering the effects of this brain drain? Would you believe that yet again, contract/temporary labor holds the solution to a vexing business problem?

Over the course of the next 15 years, more than 76 million Baby Boomers will exit the workforce. Filling the experience gap left behind by this mass exodus will be of critical importance to companies hoping to avoid reinventing the proverbial wheel (and the opportunity cost lost in that process). Luckily, with contract and temp labor continuing to be the fastest growing segment of the US workforce, many companies are already equipped with workforce management processes and practices supporting compliant, effective contract labor pools. Forward thinking organizations can leverage this apparatus to entice experienced Boomer retirees to return (along with their valuable experience and insight) as contracted consultants.

Whether it is a result of the economic hit Boomers took in the downturn, or because they still wish to be productive in their Golden Years without the grueling demands of a full-time schedule/commitment, many retirees are keen on this arrangement.  Many recently retired or retirement-age Boomers are enthusiastic about the opportunity to return to work on their own terms; for hours and durations that best suit their tastes.  For example, they can accept contract roles for the Summer and Fall and then return to winter in the more southerly latitudes.    

Companies are able to capture top expertise and experienced perspectives from contracted retirees and leverage their skills and know-how to train the next generation of management leaders for a fraction of what it would cost to employ a top performing, experienced worker in a full time capacity.  It is a true win-win for all involved. Does your organization maintain an alumni/retiree recruitment program? Talk to your workforce management partners for information on how to establish and benefit from such strategy.

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