Thanks to a cocktail of positive and negative precursors, experts predict that a quarter of American workers will be 55 years of age or older by 2020. For some citizens eligible for retirement, a career simply resurrects a sense of purpose after their children have left the nest, but the vast majority of “un-retirees” simply don’t have the means to survive their golden years without a reliable source of steady income.
“We found that upwards of 50% of our Members are searching for flexible job opportunities in an effort to stay engaged and continue to earn in this next stage,” explained Mark Silverman, CEO of Amava. “Given their experience and skills, this is an important demographic for the overall workplace, and growing each day.”
For years Amava has dedicated their resources toward helping elderly Americans land flexible jobs during their transitioning empty nester years. Given the projected increase of Baby boomers occupying the labor market, the researchers used statics and national polls to determine the most likely trends that will affect the workforce in the coming years.
Five Workforce predictions for 2020
1. Flexible Schedules
First on Amava’s list was an increased emphasis on flexible schedules on the part of employers. We’ve already seen some of the more cutting edge firms adopt this policy over the last five years.
Some studies have suggested that an enforced eight hour workday can actually hinder productivity and weaken staff morale overtime.
No-one has devised a uniform replacement yet, but Boomers seem to thrive the most with a more open-ended approach to output expectation.
“The 8-hours straight notion of full-time work is morphing and Boomers are taking advantage of it. That might mean starting work at 7am, taking a fitness break for a few hours at three and finishing up later in the day. Flexible schedules result in a happier, healthier and more productive workforce but supporting flexible schedules takes work,” Silverman added.
2. The Gig Economy
On balance, older Americans don’t need a full-time ride to pillow themselves financially. On this, Boomers and Gen Z are on the same page, which is why “gig economy” has become such a favored buzz word.
Whether you’re juggling a moonlighting job alongside your career, or working sporadically for companies looking to scale-up staff during peak seasons, gig work is a great way for Americans to keep earning without making a serious commitment.
Amava predicts that firms will advertise this kind of labor much more going into the 2020’s.
3. Remote work
The same is (basically) true of increased instances of remote work. As previously covered by Ladders, Boomers, Millennials and Gen Xers prefer to seek employment at places that are lenient about attendance.
Silverman explains , “With conferencing tools ever-refining, the rules of work requiring regular face-time continue to change.
And Boomers are on the vanguard. It fits in with travel, caregiving and a more flexible, “work-on-the-go” or nomadic lifestyle that many Boomers seek.
Not all Boomers are clinging to work out of desperation. According to a recent Freshbook survey, roughly 24 million Americans are seriously considering taking up entrepreneurship in 2020, with older workers contributing significantly to this statistic.
Amava also predicts that a large portion of Boomers will, at the very least, take a shot at running their own business at the top of the new year.
“Many Boomers have assets. They’ve figured out that they can use their homes, cars and property to start businesses,” Silverman said.
“Some have even started businesses to teach other people to do it well. Whether they want to reinvent or continue progressing where they are, Boomers know they’ve got to keep their skills sharp. These lifelong learners are self-starters who are all over mastering new workplace tools on their own. ”
5. Inter-generational opportunities
Despite popular belief, studies actually suggest that many Boomers are eager to work among and learn from younger generations. This is especially true regarding technological advances.
This generation is unique in that they were before the digital takeover but not so much so that they have an antipathy toward it. A company replete with workers of varying backgrounds and ages is one that profits, and Boomers seem to have a pretty good understanding of that.
“They’ve gotten the memo that diverse perspectives, styles and skillsets make for interesting, healthy and productive workplaces,” Silverman agreed.
Working for benefits
More tragic than the Boomers that can’t afford to make rent after retirement age, are the ones that opt to continue working for the health benefits.
Every one of the democratic front runners is defined by their health care policy prescription. As we continue to live longer, and our debt continues to rise, employers will have to consider championing insurance models that compel a slew of struggling Americans.
“A growing number of Boomers are getting back into (or staying longer in) the workforce primarily for health benefits. As the cost of health care has soared, health and wellness costs have become one of the largest annual expenses for the aging population. Working for health insurance can be an effective strategy for many Boomers to extend their retirement savings and a major incentive to stay in the workforce at least until they become Medicare eligible,” concluded Silverman.