5 Workforce Predictions for 2020
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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 can provide more of a sense of purpose after their children have left the nest, but many “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 percent of our members are searching for flexible job opportunities in an effort to stay engaged and continue to earn in this next stage,” said Mark Silverman, CEO of Amava, a company that aims to help elderly Americans land flexible jobs. “Given their experience and skills, this is an important demographic for the overall workplace and growing each day.”
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 cutting-edge firms adopt this policy over the last five years.
Some studies suggest that an enforced 8-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," said Silverman. "That might mean starting work at 7 a.m., taking a fitness break for a few hours at 3 and finishing up later in the day. Flexible schedules result in a happier, healthier and more productive workforce, but supporting flexible schedules takes work."
2. The Gig Economy
Some older Americans don’t need a full-time ride to pillow themselves financially. When it comes to this idea, many boomers and Gen Z are on the same page, which is part of why the "gig economy" has proliferated.
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.
3. Remote work
The same is essentially true of increased instances of remote work. As previously covered by Ladders, many boomers, millennials and Gen Xers prefer to seek employment at places that are lenient about attendance.
This also 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 2018 Freshbook survey, roughly 24 million Americans are seriously considering quitting their full-time jobs to pursue entrepreneurship, 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," said Silverman. "They’ve figured out that they can use their homes, cars and property to start businesses ... 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. Intergenerational opportunities
Studies suggest that many boomers are eager to work among and learn from younger generations. This is especially true regarding technological advances.
This generation seems to be unique in that they were born 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.
Working for benefits
Some boomers feel they must continue working for the health benefits. As we continue to live longer and our debt continues to rise, employers will have to consider championing insurance models that help a slew of struggling Americans.
“A growing number of boomers are getting back into, or staying longer in, the workforce primarily for health benefits," said Silverman. "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."