The Silent Generation Meets Generation Y: How to Manage a Four Generation Workforce with Panache – Part 5

Retiring Retirement

There is a definite correlation between overall population demographics and employee demographics in companies.  People are living longer and employers are already seeing trends toward employees having longer careers.  Individuals who retired in 2000 will, on average, spend 25 years in retirement.  Many people are now thinking about “career decelerations” as opposed to retirement because they can’t imagine 25 idle years – not to mention such an extended period without income. Employees may retire from one company or career only to move to another company or in another direction.  For companies struggling to attract and retain talent, looking at potential retirees and enticing them to stay in the workforce is a sound strategy.  Remember, many of these folks will want to keep working; they can as easily leave one company for another.  Don’t assume that workers on the “back nine” of their careers are headed for retirement; open up a dialogue and opportunities to reengage these folks through career development.  As labor markets tighten, companies will all be competing for the same talent pool.  One way to look at careers may be by viewing different work periods as being more transitional than final.  Employees can transition through careers by using a series of “on-ramps” and “off-ramps” with changes in responsibility and velocity-depending up energy, experience and enthusiasm.  Figure 8 illustrates how employees are likely to “rethink” the concept of retirement in lieu of on and off ramps or cyclic work periods.  Across the globe, workers delving into cyclical work; which simply means that many people see work as being intermittent rather than continuous. Workers are no longer thinking of the traditional continuous career and then retirement, instead people envision work segments punctuated by periods of non-work or sabbaticals.

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