4 Ways Retiring Baby Boomers Affect the Job Market

The impact of the aging workforce on the technology and IT industry

baby boomers in tech
Tom Merton

Between 2010 and 2030, 10,000 Baby Boomers (the generation born between 1946-1964) will reach the retirement age of 65. As this generation begins to retire, the technology and IT industries will feel the impact in a few different ways. Some of these changes are great for everyone, some of them are not so great for the Baby Boomers.

1. Flexibility in the Workplace

One of the interesting ways that the aging workforce is changing the way we work is by bringing a measure of flexibility to the office.

Companies are finding that employees in this age group require different work conditions. They are less interested in working long hours, less defined by their careers, and much more interested in part time work. As a result of this trend, "quality of life" has become a key phrase. Telecommuting, job sharing, part time work and flex scheduling can be partially attributed to this generation's influence.

This is great news for you because it means you have better chances of finding a company to work for that offers these benefits to everyone, since a work-life balance is becoming more important to employers.

2. Fewer Workers = More Job Openings

As more baby boomers retire, there are fewer replacement workers to take over. This is causing what has been referred to as a "huge knowledge gap". Even if the economy is in a downturn, overall, there will still be a need for specialized workers to take over these new openings.

More importantly, Baby Boomers retiring are much more tech-literate than their parents, and will be taking full advantage of social media and internet-connected devices like tablets, smartphones, and smart TVs. This means that technology will be more heavily marketed toward Boomers and there could be opportunities for innovation with the influx of new/more frequent users of technology in the coming years.

There’s a slight problem with this point that is discussed in the next point.

3. A Later Retirement Age

Due to issues with Social Security as well as the continuing rising costs of living, The unfortunate reality for many baby boomers is that full retirement is not financially viable.

As a result, many will need to continue working, at least part time, to support themselves. This is a double-edged sword if you’re seeking employment because the niche you want to fill may still be filled by someone who just can’t afford to move on at this time. A good strategy to counter this problem would be to make sure you’re super specialized with unique skills and experience such as by learning a new coding language. This way, you don’t necessarily have to wait for that position to be vacated to get the same kind of employment.

4. Wages Increase In Specialized Vacated Positions

In the labor market, and specifically in the technology job market, when there are jobs available and not enough workers, wages go up to attract and retain the necessary workers.

A large group of Baby Boomer retirements is no exception. Most tech-related positions are expected to have some form of salary increase in 2016, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This will mean that more people will then become interested in jobs in technology. Since companies need workers, and because it can take a long time for new workers to get the skills needed, tech companies will put pressure on the US government to increase the number of new visas approved in a given year. Most notably, the H-1B visa, since this is the one most impacted by the tech industry.

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