Baby Boomers are increasing in the United States job market. This generation’s employment gain in 2018 is unmistakable. Baby Boomers are increasing both in total number of employees and as a percentage of new hires. What is driving this phenomenon?
December 2018 Job Growth by Sector
A look at job gains in December 2018 may provide a few clues to the growth of Baby Boomers in the job market. The job gains are noteworthy for how widespread they are across sectors of the economy. Sectors by order of job gains:
- Private Education and Health Services: Up 82,000
- Leisure and Hospitality: Up 55,000
- Professional and Business Services: Up 43,000
- Construction: Up 38,000
- Manufacturing: Up 32,000
- Retail Trade: Up 24,000
- Government: Up 11,000
- Wholesale Trade: Up 8,000
- Other Services: Up 8,000
- Financial Activities: Up 6,000
- Mining and Logging: Up 4,000
- Transportation and Warehousing: Up 2,000
- Utilities: Unchanged
- Information: Down 1,000
Interestingly, some sectors showing job gains represent types of jobs that require higher education, experience, and skill levels than some other sectors. However, sectors such as Information that had driven significant job growth in the past may be undergoing structural changes or be further impacted by government restrictions related to immigration and visa status. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics Highlights December 2018 Report includes a special note regarding Information jobs: “Within the sector, telecommunications lost 26,000 jobs in 2018, while other information services added 17,000.” Monthly job data tends to be volatile in nature. As a result, trends are difficult to discern when looking only at monthly data.
2018 Job Growth by Age Distribution
A look at job gains throughout the entire year of 2018 might provide more helpful information to understand why baby boomers are increasing in the job market. Over 2.9 million new jobs were created in 2018. Select age distribution across all of the 2018 new jobs shows a disparity in hiring patterns.
Age Distribution of Workers in New 2018 Jobs
- 55 and over: Represent less than 24% of the workforce, but took 49% of new jobs
(Workers age 25-54 represent 64% of the workforce, but took only 45% of new jobs)
- 45-54: Decreased overall
- 35-44: Gained but smaller than their share of workforce
- 25-34: Gained strongly
- 18-19: Represent 2% of the workforce, but took 11% of new jobs
Why are Baby Boomers Taking New Jobs?
The growth of Baby Boomers in the job market is due to a number of factors. Baby boomers as a whole tend to be more health conscious than their parents and grandparents. As a result, they have a longer life expectancy than previous generations. This generation is unique in its pursuit to create a new way of health living. As a result, their desire to live well includes better nutrition, healthy activities, and the pursuit of social activities including employment that lets them engage with similar populations.
Also, Baby Boomers in the workforce tend to be better educated. This in turn increases their likelihood of remaining in the labor force for a longer period, as more job opportunities are open to them. Some job seekers may benefit from career services that offer powerful tools to help them find jobs that can use their experience.
Changes to social safety net programs such as Social Security benefits and employee retirement plans also play a factor in Baby Boomers choosing to work longer. Greater life expectancies mean Baby Boomers need more savings and reserves for their retirement years. This is especially true as government programs continue increasing minimum retirement ages for full benefit eligibility.
Jobs for Baby Boomers
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that employment of workers age 55 and over is greatest in the following job types:
- Management, Professional, and Related Positions
- Sales and Office
- Production, Transportation, and Material Moving
- Natural Resources, Construction, and Maintenance
Within these job types, specific occupations have a greater concentration of Baby Boomers. Many of these occupations require significant experience and skills that add to the job holder’s credibility. Other occupations require an affable personality and openness to working with the public. Finally, several of these occupations require unique and significant leadership skills.
Occupations Requiring Artistic and Creative Skills
- Furniture Finishers, Cabinet Makers
- Jewelers, Gem Finishers, Metal Workers
Occupations Requiring Great Care and Attention to Detail
- Archivists, Curators, Museum Technicians
- Medical Transcriptionists, Medical Coders
- Proofreaders, Editors, Reviewers, Copy Readers
- Tax Preparation Professionals
Occupations Requiring Openness to Working with the Public
- Bus Drivers, Taxi Drivers, Uber/Lyft Drivers
- Property Managers, Real Estate Managers, Community Association Managers
- Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Sales Agents
- Travel Agents, Tour Guides
Occupations Requiring Unique and Significant Leadership Skills
- Clergy, Priests, Religious Leaders
- Legislators, Government Representatives, Elected Officials
Other Factors Driving Baby Boomers to Remain in the Job Market
Flexibility in the job market provides greater opportunities for Baby Boomers to consider employment. Part-time positions often allow employees to work alternate schedules that fit their lifestyles. Also, another option Baby Boomers often choose is self-employment, opening their own businesses around special interests or services. Many freelancers over the age of 55 use supplemental gig work to fund their future retirement plans. Freelance work appeals to Baby Boomers because it lets them prioritize what is most important to them.
What Should Employers do to Attract Baby Boomers?
Employers should be aware of the growing number of Baby Boomers in the workforce. They should consider structuring positions to accommodate workers with higher education levels. Employers should also consider examining their employment requirements with respect to full-time, part-time, and gig work schedules. This will help employers appeal to the greatest number of job seekers.
Additionally, employers should examine their relocation program’s benefits. Relocation programs should be designed to provide companies and their employees the resources and they need to ensure a smooth and successful relocation process. A robust program should account for ongoing employee support services, supplier management, candidate selection, relocation benefits, and expense management.
GMS’ team of global relocation experts has helped thousands of our clients develop hiring and recruiting programs to attract highly skilled job seekers. Our team can also help your company by using industry best practices to design your relocation program. This will increase your company’s ability to attract and retain new employees across all age groups, including Baby Boomers.
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Contact our experts online to discuss your company’s recruiting, hiring, and relocation program needs, or give us a call at 800.617.1904 or 480.922.0700 today.