Workers 55-Plus To Outnumber Younger Employees For The First Time

Whether out of economic need or simply a desire to continue working, many baby boomers aren't leaving their jobs anytime soon.

In fact, so many workers 55 and older are staying in the workforce, The Atlantic reports, that by year's end their numbers will surpass those who are aged 25 to 34. And the trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future -- until 2020.

Older workers' expected dominance in the labor market can also be attributed to the inability of many Generation Yers to find full-time work or a job at all. Others have returned to school, hoping to ride out the tight job market, further reducing the number of younger workers participating in the workforce.

Having fewer Gen Y workers entering the workforce may help reduce the tension that experts say exists between them and their older counterparts.

More: Top 20 Jobs That Don't Require A College Degree

That resentment stems from the generations' opposing views on work, diversity consultant Shirley Engelmeier recently told The Wall Street Journal. Baby boomers came of age at a time when young workers were still expected to pay their dues and slowly climb a career ladder, and view their younger colleagues as "impatient" and "entitled," she says.

But Gen Y is taking a different approach. Frequently more tech-savvy and entrepreneurial in their thinking, 20- and early 30-somethings aren't concerned about being loyal to one company, and instead expect to work for many employers during their lifetimes.

Still, with boomers forecast to maintain a strong presence throughout the remainder of the decade, both groups would be well served if they simply tried to get along.

As Engelmeier told the Journal, Sticking to stereotypes and assumptions "will only get in the way of what could otherwise be great working relationships."

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The US economy is nose diving. It is not because of taxes. Despite what some polticians say, we currently have the lowest tax rates in thrity years!!!! Our tax revenues have dropped to historic low levels. Then there are huge issues with the young Milenial Generation. We have not educated our young people properly. Many are geographically illiterate., and this is not good in a global economy. Many Millenials were told they could do no wrong.They were told tehy could not fail and that they deserved instant success. Many were kept from spontaneous play in favor or organized sports and cultural activities. The Millenials are now our largest generation. The boomers are wearing very thin. They see the damage that technology has done.Soem emplloyers want older boomers to leave because they kow that these older workers knw how much better the workplace was, pre computers and pre HR directives. They know that Milenials will discriminate against them if they gain power and ,yet the millenials are not prepared to make decisons that will advance the goals of the organizations that employ them. Many older boomers love to work part time in a professional capacity, but will not leave their full time positions, because it is an "all or nothing at all" proposition from their emplyers perspective. .Most emplyers won't consider the gradual phase down, part time jobs, despite the fact that older boomers are best equiped to mentor the young workers. Downloading apps and googling for quick info and writing reports with minimal wording in favor of "digital pictograms" is not the kind of skill required for success.Critical thinking, excellent communications and negotiations skills, and thorough and extensive technical knowledge about products and services are necessary for success. Millenials are not prepared to offer these skills to employers,no matter what they think. .All that said ,one way or another we have go to get Millenials into the job market, or we risk serious social instability in a very few years.Think Occupy on steroids. One way to avoid this is to reject any notion of raising the full reiterment age for social security from 67 (younger boomers) to 70. The other is to encourage experienced older boomers to gradually leave the workforce, and to mento the young.The younger boomers grew w up with Reaganesque ideas (me,me me ) and could nto care less about mentoring.

July 12 2012 at 2:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The young bosses redo the company's policy verbally to force out the older workers then use the original policy to say you violated it!

July 12 2012 at 12:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's all about the work ethic. Unfortunatley many of the young company recruiters can sometimes do their company a disservice by hiring people their own age when in reality they the position calls for someone who's been there...done that.

July 12 2012 at 12:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The older person is still being discriminated against. The sad part of it is the ones hiring cant even stand next to the older more educated, experienced worker. Yes, many older persons who still have a job will fight to keep it but the chances of staying longer will be a fight because the younger ones want that job even though they cant really compete with the older worker.

July 12 2012 at 12:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The over 50's are experienced, aren't hung over, usually don't have little children they have to leave work for, are smarter than they were at age 20, usually try very hard at every job as they know how important that is.

July 12 2012 at 12:17 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

"But Gen Y is taking a different approach. Frequently more tech-savvy and entrepreneurial in their thinking..."-----What a load of BS. Most Gen Yers and under are only tech savvy when it comes to working their smart phones and downloading apps like Angry Birds. This passes for being "tech-savvy" with the old guard of boomers who don't know the difference. And then the old boomers promote them over those who really have not only tech savvy but a solid work ethic. Good luck getting the 20 somethings to work for you. They'd rather spend their time texting their friends...

July 12 2012 at 11:58 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Norina's comment


July 12 2012 at 12:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There are more of 50 something in the marketplace because of divorce. The woman got divorced in her 40's, lost her ex-husband's salary and pension, doesn't get good child support and no alimony. And now her kid has to go to community college and she has to find a way to pay for it.

July 12 2012 at 11:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Cindy's comment

Goofy, narrow statement Cindy - that being over 50 means you're divorced and that's why you're in the marketplace. Or because she won't get her ex-husband's pension, or salary or child support or alimony. Many states no longer have alimony anyway, over 50's usually don't have dependant kids, Older men are in the market place too and they aren't mentioned. The over 50's are just better workers for the most part and HR's are figuring that out. Finally.

July 12 2012 at 12:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

well again it depends on the person, we cant put all in one basket!

July 12 2012 at 8:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It is always better to hire an over 50 person because they know more and are dependable.

July 12 2012 at 7:26 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply

If I have a choice between a 30 year old and a 60 year old, I'll take the 60 year old every time. Saying gen y is tech savvy is being too kind- too often they are unable to follow simple instructions, such as which software to use, they then do it their own way, and screw up a good system. They seem unable to comprehend the need for prompt communication with people who are new to them, they spell and write poorly, and they simply drop the ball way too often. My business revolves around natural disasters, and when someone's home has been destroyed, you don't want to hear "well, I have a ball game, then I'm meeting some friends for dinner, then I have some errands to run, and THEN I'll call the family whose house is in splinters". They just don't get it. Retention rate of 55+: over 90%. Retention rate of under 40: Less than 10%.

July 12 2012 at 7:23 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Jim's comment

True enough. In my last job, I had to report to a 20 something who wasn't even capable of writing down addresses for my assignments. But, she "needed" multiple video screens to "keep up" with her job responsibilities. The staff joked that they'd have to lock out MTV so she'd actually do something resembling "work."

July 12 2012 at 12:02 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Jim you're right about the retention rate of the under 40. My wife is over 50 and she keeps getting passed over for jobs where a 20 something is hired only to see the company trying to fill the position again a month or two later. She's getting to the point of screaming age discrimination which is very common here in Utah.

July 12 2012 at 1:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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