Aging Workforce: How To Attract New Talent as Baby Boomers Retire

By Roxanna Coldiron

Until the Millennials arrived on the scene, the Baby Boomer generation had been the largest living generation in the United States. Millennials, many of whom are in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties, have since surpassed the aging Baby Boomers and are gaining in the workforce as the older generation retires.

According to Pew Research, the United States had an estimated 79.8 million Millennials compared with the estimated 74.1 million Baby Boomers in 2016. Immigration also contributes to the continued growth of Millennials as younger people come to the United States for education and jobs.

While some older workers are putting off retirement for various reasons, Bloomberg reported that older Americans had begun “retiring in droves.” The fourth quarter of 2016 had seen Baby Boomers leaving the workforce by an increase of 800,000 in Q4 2016 Positions filled by these older workers become vacant, creating the need for attracting and retaining new talent.

Younger workers can become a valuable asset to any organization. Millennials, and soon the generation that is trailing behind them, tend to be more adaptable to change, quick to learn new skills and eager to work their way up the corporate ladder, provided that the organization offers adequate incentive. How can your organization attract these smart and versatile workers?

Recruit from colleges and universities

Younger Millennials can be found in undergraduate and graduate schools. Go where the talent is located. Join college job fairs to meet with students and share the opportunities that your organization can offer. An internship program that compensates interns with either a stipend or small salary can also be a great incentive to reach out to Millennials. If the intern shows that they’re a great fit for the company, you have already developed the relationship with them and know that they understand your organization’s mission and goals.

Provide unique benefits

What do Millennials want from their employers? That will vary by individual, but Millennials tend to value a work/life balance. Offer flexible scheduling or more paid vacation days. Working from home a few days a week can also benefit morale. Millennials worry about their finances, so providing other financial benefits can be a great incentive. More and more companies are providing student loan repayment assistance for their employees, and the organizations that do have learned how much their staff values the ability to pay down their student loans faster. On-site daycare or daycare cost assistance can also be a benefit that will appeal to young couples with children.

Encourage growth within the company

If Millennials believe that a job provides no opportunities for advancement, the Millennials are much more likely to leave the organization for a better position elsewhere. Provide clear career paths for Millennials so that they know how they can move within an organization. Prepare Millennials for future leadership roles through mentorship and training. Long-term career development is an appealing incentive for many Millennials.

Develop a fun and healthy work culture

Everything about your organization contributes to the company work culture. Do employees feel comfortable approaching management with their questions and concerns? Do they feel as if their ideas and contributions matter? Culture is much more than providing doughnuts in the break room or ping pong tables in the recreation room. Allow employees to work on related but non-work projects for a portion of the day. Let them explore their creative sides. Fun events like cookouts and game days can also create an appealing work culture.

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