An HR Glossary for HR Terms
Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms
How Old Are Baby Boomers?
As of 2023, Baby Boomers are between 59 and 77 years old. Baby Boomers are the generational cohort born after World War II, specifically between 1946 to 1964. This name is derived from an unprecedented post-war spike in birth rates.
What Are the Characteristics of Baby Boomers?
- Technology: While Baby Boomers still lag behind younger generations in technology adoption, 78% report using Facebook, and 67% use YouTube.
- Politics: Along with the Silent Generation (1928-1945), Baby Boomers tend to be more politically conservative than younger generations.
- Education: While Baby Boomers surpassed previous generations in educational attainment, only one in eight received a bachelor's degree or greater — compared to one in four Generation X adults and 40% of Millennials.
- Workforce: Baby Boomer women contributed to greater labor force participation than earlier generations, maintaining a significant portion of the workforce well into their 60s.
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At What Age Do Baby Boomers Typically Retire?
Baby Boomers have stayed longer in the workforce than previous generations. However, over half of them are past the traditional retirement age, and younger Baby Boomers are nearing it.
Retirement has accelerated in the past few years. This is largely due to the pandemic, resulting in three million Baby Boomers retiring prematurely.
This anomaly aside, it’s common for Baby Boomers to retire in their mid-60s. The median retirement age in the US is currently 62, slightly younger than experts anticipated. Recent data indicates that only 33% of people between 65 and 74 participate in the workforce.
What Is the Difference Between Baby Boomers and Millennials?
Baby Boomers are two generations older than Millennials (with Generation X in the middle). While Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996. As of 2023, Millennials are between 27 and 42 years old.
Baby Boomers were the largest generational cohort in the U.S. (peaking at 78.8 million in 1999) until 2019, when Millennials dethroned them. They are now the third-largest generation in today’s workforce. Baby Boomers make up 19% of workers, while 39% are Millennials, and 35% are Generation X.
What Is Important to Baby Boomers in the Workplace?
Saving for a comfortable retirement is important to Baby Boomers. Rather than establishing a career, purchasing a house, or building a family, Baby Boomers plan for retirement.
Baby Boomers' Workplace Values and Behaviors
These are some of the main differences between the working values and behaviors of Baby Boomers and Millennials:
- Loyalty: Baby Boomers are more likely than younger generations to stay at a company for a long time—most stay in one job for eight years.
- Visibility: While younger generations may feel hesitant to toot their own horns, Baby Boomers prioritize making their work seen and their voices heard.
- Authority: Baby Boomers are more likely to trust and respect an older and seasoned peer, equating experience with authority.
- Traditionalism: Baby Boomers are more resistant to young, up-and-coming workforce leaders, believing that people need to “put in their time” and learn from their predecessors in order to succeed.
What Do Baby Boomers Want in an Employer?
Baby Boomers look for three main traits in their employers:
- Recognition of Skills: Because Baby Boomers highly value visibility, they also want their experience to be recognized and respected. They’re more willing to work long hours if it means being recognized for it.
- Security: As Baby Boomers near retirement, they often seek out job security to keep them employed and paid until they exit the workforce.
- Health and Retirement Benefits: As noted earlier, healthcare and retirement benefits are essential to Baby Boomers, especially as they reach retirement age.
Additional Baby Boomer Statistics for Employers
As an employer, it’s critical to make decisions that align with the values of your team. If your workforce includes Baby Boomers, here are additional facts that can help guide you:
- Ageism is prevalent in the modern workforce, often preventing Baby Boomers from seeking new opportunities.
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) does not allow age discrimination against adults 40 and over. This includes all aspects of the employee experience, such as hiring, firing, compensation, training, benefits, and promotions.
- Over 50% of adults 55 and over have retired from the workforce. As this number grows, executives should consider how to fill in the gaps.
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