About Me

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Fishers, Indiana, United States
Brenda gained career expertise as a human resources leader at a global company before becoming an HR consultant. She gained functional experience in a variety of sales roles in the health care industry achieving success for over 20 years. Her passion is participating in, writing about and observing the evolving workforce. For the first time in history four generations work together. It keeps things interesting. Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) are redefining retirement and what it means to age in the workforce. It is not just about money. Okay it plays a role! At 76.4 million members strong, Boomers are leveraging technology to continue their careers and the personal fulfillment working brings. Managing a late-stage career requires more thought than 20 years ago. Unexpected changes in life force us to consider the future. There is no roadmap or one size fits all answer. This blog is about sharing, networking & finding your own right answer to working later, managing your career, redefining retirement, looking for work in your 50s & 60s and reinventing yourself.

Monday, September 7, 2015

The State of the Experienced Worker: Labor Day 2015



The short answer is despite your personal situation, overall the environment for workers 50+ is improving. I base my optimistic observation on 5 megatrends that have occurred since 2011, the first year when 10,000 Baby Boomers would turn 65 everyday for the next twenty years and the year this blog was launched:

There is a conversation about aging in the workforce that didn’t exist previously. Millennials, GenXers and others didn’t want to have a conversation about working Baby Boomers, basically they just wanted us to retire and go away quietly. In June 2015 there was a special Senate Hearing, “Work in Retirement: Career Reinvention and the New Retirement Workscape” chaired by a bi-partisan coalition studying issues of working past age 65. In April 2015 AARP commissioned a study conducted by AonHewitt , “A Business Case for Workers Age 50+: A Look at the Value of Experience 2015.” In March 2015, Money magazine published, “The Suddenly Hot Job Market for Workers Over 50.” CNBC, radio talk shows and other media have shined a light on the opportunities and challenges of our multi-generational workforce.

Baby Boomers are becoming career development do-it-yourselfers. Working at something we love past traditional retirement age and not tapping into social security benefits early at age 62, requires early planning. Well-meaning blog readers counseled me on moving the blog target demographic to 50+ attracting advertisers and readers in the senior market. Your 40s are the perfect decade to start planning the second stage of your career--so, I'm committed to Work, Jobs &Careers@ 40+. We have all realized the need to become DIY on training, networking and creating alternatives to what you do today if you don’t love your job. It is a personal accountability, like managing our health. No one else can do this for you and more Boomers get this now. I ask you the question today that I’ve asked groups, “what are the first five things you would do if you lost your job tomorrow?”

Corporate culture and how experienced workers are treated by management is more transparent than ever. Potential employees have to sort through the noise and scam messages online. However, sites like glassdoor.com, Indeed.com and others can shed light on management philosophy and practices. There are industry oriented sites, company specific sites and forums on job search sites.

Corporate America is (slowly) waking up to the potential of experienced workers staying in the workforce. In January 2015, the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) surveyed 1,913 HR professionals who rated experienced workers highly in knowledge, work ethic, professionalism and reliability. However, only 24% of the HR professionals saw the brain drain of knowledge leaving their organizations as a problem and 4% viewed it as a crisis. Some industries are more impacted than others. 39% of the American Airlines workforce is 50+ while 37% of the employees at Delta and United Airlines are 50+. The Federal government workforce is composed of 30% employees 50+. These organizations will have to face the challenges of losing their knowledge base before other companies.

More organizations are focused on next steps for emerging retirees. There are free resources for 50+ workers at encore.org, the Center on Aging & Work at Boston College have years of research for individuals and human resource professionals on their website and AARP has online resources on their website. Managing the Older Worker: How to Prepare for the New Organizational Order, Peter Cappelli’s 2010 book has ideas for leaders working with experienced workers. Excerpts of his classic have shown up in many 2015 magazines.

The experienced worker is top of mind this Labor Day!