Baby Boomers in the Workplace: What’s the Impact?
The baby boomer generation is defined as those born between 1946 and 1964. Today, baby boomers make up the older side of the workforce, ranging from ages 52 to 70. Many companies owe their entire existence to baby boomers, but with todays technology-driven work force the baby boomers livelihoods are being threatened.
Many baby boomers are retiring but others are being forced out of the workforce. Since almost no private employers nowadays have full pension or reirement plans, many baby boomers are working longer than they expected. This is creating a potential problem, not only for them, but for their employers as well. For example— an AARP study revealed that while many baby boomers are envisioning retirement, there is also a large percentage that want to continue working. This stagnates employer growth and turnover but also can have a significant financial cost to employers, since older employees typically make significantly more than their younger counterparts. This is an unvavoidable truth that those with more experience have higher salaries.
This generation has also had a huge impact on health insurance. Why? Old age is inevitably accompanied by health problems. An aging workforce means more money will need to be spent on health care. Many employees have seen the costs of health insurance sky-rocket in the last decade. This generation has also had a big impact on the younger generation, who are looking for jobs as they graduate from college.
As a result of all of this, some employers attempt to “run-off” the older workforce in favor of hiring a younger employee at a lower salary. This situation often implicates a potential age discrimination claim in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”). Employers are left with the difficult dilemna of valuing their senior workforce while at the same time, making way for a younger generation. However, if employers get rid of an employee simply because they are older or are perceived as less good as his/her younger counterpart, the company should expect a lawsuit. It’s important to remember that many companies are what they are today because of baby boomers.