As has been well documented, baby boomers are at retirement age but they’re not ready to doddle off into the sunset. They want to stay active in some capacity, which could mean huge cost savings and other less tangible benefits for companies willing to recruit them.
That’s the viewpoint of Timothy Hearon, managing partner of an outfit called Boomerswork.us. His firm specializes in placing retired executives who want to return to work but not as full-time employees.
Hearon told the Sarasota (Florida) Tribune in an article, “Employers don’t think it’s possible to bring in a vice president of HR with 30 years’ experience for a 100-200 person company; they can’t afford $250,000 a year,” he says. “But they can afford $50,000 for two days a week for six months for someone to come in and write the book on HR, and hand it over to an $80,000-a-year manager.”
There are other tangible benefits to recruiting Baby Boomers, including the fact they are more likely to want to work at the office, instead of telecommuting, and they are less narcissistic. A Time.com article says, based on the results of an MTV survey, “Research shows that 81% of millennials think they should be allowed to make their own hours at work, compared to only 69% of boomers. Whereas more boomers feel the office environment and the traditional workday is the best way to get the job done, millennials prefer a flexible approach, including the right to be remote workers who go into the office only sometimes, or perhaps never. They maintain that as long as the work gets done, the amount of time spent in the office shouldn’t matter. In the MTV poll, 70% of millennials also said that they need ‘me time’ on the job, versus 39% of Baby Boomers.”
Hiring a Baby Boomer doesn’t come at the expense of growth for your company because of the potential lost by not hiring a millennial. Kevin E. Cahill, PhD, a research economist with The Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College and a senior economist with ECONorthwest, writes in a column at the Idaho Business Review, “Some have argued that retaining older workers hurts younger ones. For every job taken by an older worker, a younger one loses out. Don’t buy it. This argument is severely flawed economically and has been proven misguided repeatedly in empirical studies. Just think of where we would all be if the baby boomers en masse decided to stop working. Now that would be a real problem, as a large number of productive individuals would vanish and need to be supported by, you guessed it, younger workers.”
Cahill adds, “When it comes to older workers, you, the employer, have a lot to gain. The trick is being open to the opportunity right in front of you and figuring out how best to benefit. Remember, too, if you’re not open to the opportunity, the guy down the street will be.”
The economist also suggests that older workers have a desire in employment mobility that could harm your organization. “What does the new era of retirement mean for you, the employer? For one, it means look out. If your older employees are similar to other older workers across the country, they are well aware of the opportunities that the dynamic American labor market provides, and may take advantage of it. Moreover, the most talented and skilled workers are those with the most to gain in the free market. The takeaway – be cognizant of the opportunities your older workers have, and respond accordingly. Keep communication open and don’t wait until it is too late to focus on retaining the one element of your workforce that only older workers can provide – a lifetime of experience,” he writes.