Retirements Mean Big Opportunities For Job Seekers

Businessman using laptop while traveling

The greying of America -- the impending aging and retirement of the Baby Boom generation -- will increasingly become a green opportunity for job seekers. Companies need to keep staffed and as older workers leave or move to part-time or consulting status. Businesses will lose workers as 10,000 a day will turn 65 through 2020, according to the Pew Research Center.

Not only do even large companies lose important experience, as NPR has reported, but there are fewer people available to get jobs done. Even as many older Americans consider working longer because of insufficient retirement accounts, there will be increasing demand for workers to replace for those retirees who can completely walk away or offer only reduced hours.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the problem extends over many industries. Here is a list of industries and the percentages of their total work force that are older, in decreasing order of presence:
  • Healthcare and social assistance (30 percent)
  • Religious, grant making, civic, professional, and similar (30 percent)
  • Finance, insurance, and real estate (29 percent)
  • Government agencies (29 percent)
  • Utilities (29 percent)
  • Manufacturing (27 percent)
  • Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (27 percent)
  • Information and professional, scientific, and technical service (26 percent)
  • Construction and repair and maintenance (24 percent)
  • Educational services (24 percent)
  • Accommodation and food services, retail, wholesale, transportation and warehousing (23 percent)
  • Other (23 percent)

However, that's not to say all these industries are currently scouring the countryside to find and train new workers to replace their older ones. In fact, although there will be opportunity, plenty of companies have not yet considered what the demographic and generational shift might mean to them. According to SHRM, 36 percent of companies are only beginning to examine policies and management policies regarding the shift, 19 percent said they were just becoming aware of the issue, and 13 percent were unaware of the problem. So while the retirement of older workers could help someone's job search, it will probably take diligence and vigilance to see when companies that are a match for your skills and abilities actually realize that they might need to hire you.
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