5 Ways to Recruit and Retain Baby Boomers in 2020


In this article, 

Mark Silverman, CEO of Amava discusses different ways to recruit and retain baby boomers in the workplace.

Glassdoor just released a report predicting: “Baby Boomers will be the fastest-growing age category in the U.S. and U.K. workforces next year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), almost 20% of Americans over the age of 65 were employed or actively looking for work last year, up from less than 12% two decades earlier.”

Boomers Returning to Work

The data is in: a growing number of Baby Boomers are re-entering the workforce and even more are staying in their current positions long into their golden years. Experts predict that a quarter of the workforce will be over 55 by 2020 and Boomers are becoming less likely to retire at 65. When the biggest generation in history behaves differently than its predecessors and the labor market is tight, human resources departments stand up and take notice. 

An Untapped Talent Opportunity

The world is changing and so is the workplace. While leaders come from everywhere, those with experience are particularly valuable as employers look for employees with the right skill sets to take their organizations to the next level. At the same time, companies have to confront the threat of employee burnout by focusing on work-life balance. This doesn’t just affect Boomers, but it brings out the best in all workers. As Bill Gates famously predicted, “The competition to hire the best will increase in the years ahead. Companies that give extra flexibility to their employees will have the edge in this area.” Employers have learned that there are concrete ways to attract the best talent, Boomers and otherwise. 

How to attract high-quality Boomer employees in 2020 

Pay close attention to these five trends:

1. Flexible Schedules 

The “8-hours, 5 days-a-week straight” notion of full-time work is morphing and Boomers find it increasingly attractive. Flexibility might mean starting work at 7 am, taking a fitness break for a few hours at 3 pm and finishing up later in the day. Or working a 3 or 4-day work week. Flexible schedules have been shown to result in a happier, healthier and more productive workforce. Supporting flexible schedules takes effort to manage, but it’s worth establishing and adhering to best practices because the payoff can be significant. It’s rapidly becoming a golden age for flexibility and plenty of tools are being developed to help with the logistics.  

2. Remote Work 

With ever-refining conferencing tools, the rules of work requiring regular in-person time continue to change. And Boomers are on the vanguard. Remote work fits in with travel, caregiving and a more flexible “work-on-the-go” lifestyle that many Boomers seek. It works well for many employers too.

3. Upskilling

Whether reinventing themselves or honing expertise to excel in their current positions, Boomers want to keep their skills sharp. Many are lifelong learners and self-starters who will put in the time and energy to master new workplace tools. Consequently, companies who invest in employee upskilling or value those who have taken the initiative to do it on their own have a leg up when it comes to recruiting and retaining Boomers. 

Learn More: Why Is Digital Health Crucial to Future Health of Baby BoomersOpens a new window

4. Intergenerational Opportunities

Many Boomers report an interest in being part of an intergenerational workplace. They tend to value diverse perspectives, styles, and skillsets, which make for interesting, healthy and productive workplaces. And unlike many of the negative “OK, Boomer” memes, they actively swap knowledge and experiences with their colleagues, enhancing the overall work environment.

5. Benefits Matter

A growing number of Boomers are getting back into (or staying longer in) the workforce to maintain employer-provided health benefits. As the cost of health care has soared, health and wellness costs have become one of the largest annual expenses for Americans. Employers who provide solid health benefits can attract experienced workers. Some are willing and able to play mentor roles, others may consider gradual step downs in responsibilities and pay. There are creative arrangements that can work for all parties. 

As the Boomer population ages and life spans increase, the opportunities are evolving, but one thing remains the same: an organization’s success is dependent on attracting and retaining the best people. That includes talented, focused workers of all ages and from all generations. 

Learn More: Millennials, Boomers & The Leadership GapOpens a new window