Bye, Bye Boomer. How to Replace the Mass Exodus of Early Retirees

Since 2011, about two million Baby Boomers have retired each year. In 2020, that number jumped to three million, leaving employers reeling. Baby Boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1964, were the largest segment of the workforce for decades. Now that the youngest boomers turn fifty-eight this year, fewer and fewer of them are choosing to continue working for a variety of reasons.

Why Are Boomers Retiring?

Some have accumulated healthy 401(k)s and are ready to enjoy themselves while reasonably young. Others have health issues or must care for grandchildren or other family members. The COVID-19 pandemic influenced retirements in several ways. Long-haul aftereffects pushed up retirement dates. Remote work reduced the social aspects of working that kept some in the workforce. For many, the pandemic was a wake-up call that life is short and unpredictable; they couldn’t afford to continue postponing employment.

Where Does This Leave Employers?

Short-handed and looking for ways to respond to this mass exodus of Baby Boomers – many of them in positions of authority.

How Can Employers Replace Retiring Boomers?

The good news is there are plenty of workers from the generations that followed the boomers – Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. Millennials alone, born from 1981-1996, make up a growing segment of the working population and are ready to step into vacancies left by retirees. Currently, Millennials are in their late twenties to early forties. They are mid-career and prepared to take on leadership roles. They just need training and mentorship to succeed.

Promote From Within

Knowing the company promotes from within can improve retention. The common wisdom is that professionals must leapfrog from company to company to advance their careers and boost their income. If you want to keep good people and make internal promotions a priority, create professional development plans for your employees and support them through the program. You’ll still have to backfill the positions left vacant, but lower-level jobs are generally a little easier to find candidates for.

Plan For Knowledge Transfer

Retirees don’t just leave vacancies; they take institutional knowledge with them. Even with succession plans in place for top executives, you probably have no plans on how to manage the loss of middle managers and key individual contributors. Generally, you’ll know well in advance that an employee will be retiring. Develop a strategy to begin documenting and training replacements for retirees at least a year in advance. Those nearing retirement can mentor and train others in their last months on the job. Offer retirement-age workers part-time or contract jobs so they can mentor until their replacements are fully trained.

Work With A Staffing Agency

A staffing agency like PrideStaff can give you flexibility through the transition. You can put recently retired employees on their payroll, get extra help while employees are training, or have a recruiter find candidates for full-time positions. Contact PrideStaff today to get started.