Born in 1993, I’m pretty certain I’m considered a member of the sometimes disreputable and misunderstood Millennial generation. As more Millennials are entering the workforce, some of their workplace habits have been under scrutiny, as coworkers and managers consider Millennials to be different from previous generations. I was surprised to run into an article combating some of these notions, or at least questioning them.
The Harvard Business Review article centered on four common blanket statements made about Millennials:
They’re completely different from “us” at that age.
Millennials want more purpose at work.
They want more work-life balance.
Millennials need special treatment at work.
The basis for the article’s conclusions came mainly from research done by Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University and the author of “Generation Me,” and her fellow researchers. Peter Cappelli, the George W. Taylor Professor of Management at the Wharton School, also offered his insight based on his studies of research done on Millennials.
All of the abovementioned statements were proven false aside from number three, which was found to be “somewhat true.” The basic conclusion was that Millennials are not drastically different from previous generations and the perceptions that they are derive from the age difference. In other words, Millennials are not that different from Baby Boomers when they were in their 20s and 30s.
However, when managing people, it is still helpful to recognize the differences that age can present, because people’s needs change as they progress through different stages of their life. What’s important to you when you’re 24 is not the same as when you’re 50.
The generational gap does not have to pose issues at work. In fact, Cappelli found in his research that teams composed of different-aged workers perform better, particularly because they don’t view each other as competition and instead collaborate to help each other.
Don’t forget about the Boomers. I guess I’ve always been one of them, but my recent ascent (do you like that word choice?) into the 50-plus crowd has me more aligned with those born in the 1946 to1964 time period.
Anyway, some numbers from Nielsen suggest that the consumers of my generation are being ignored — and they shouldn’t be.
The Baby Boomers are 80 million strong. Yet despite their significant size and spending power, these high potential consumers have been largely unaddressed by marketers since they started to age out of the popular 18-49 cohort. In five years, 50% of the U.S. population will be 50-plus. These consumers spend close to half of all consumer-packaged-goods dollars yet less than 5% of advertising is geared toward them.
In the next five years, Boomers are set to control 70% of the disposable income in the U.S. What’s more, they stand to inherit $15 trillion in the next 20 years. As they age out of the workforce, 67% of Boomers plan to spend more time on their hobbies and interests, moving from a life dedicated to making money to one that is directed to spending money.
Boomers are not afraid of technology, making them accessible through digital media. They comprise one-third of all online users and one-third of all social media users. While slower to adopt new technologies, once a technology goes mainstream, Boomers buy in.
It’s clear that taking Boomers’ loyalty for granted, or forsaking them for being too loyal or set in their ways, are both risky approaches for marketers.
Been there, done that and now it’s time to have fun!
Retirement is coming early for Baby Boomers, according to a new study challenging the prevailing notion that seniors are postponing their workforce departures.
The MetLife report reveals that among individuals born in 1946 (the year the Baby Boom began), 59% were either partially or fully retired by age 65. Men (born in ’46) continued working, on average, until age 59.7. For women, the milestone was 57.2.
You know the famous “you’re only as old as you feel” expression? Most participants, on average, share that they won’t consider themselves old until they near 80 (age 79 to be exact). How cool is that?
Here’s one of the best findings, in my opinion: 96% of respondents are enjoying retirement at least somewhat.
Hooray! We may not have to keep our noses to the grindstone as long as we initially thought. And it’s encouraging to know that when we do bid our jobs a (hopefully friendly) farewell, the best may be yet to come.
An intriguing paper from Brookings relays how America’s voting population is skewing older. This is the first time in history (or at least the first census) in which people 45 and older made up the majority of the voting population.
These trends have combined today to yield an older nation. Median U.S. age is 37.2—up from 32.6 in 1990. Now nearly four in ten Americans (39 percent) are over age 45, up from 34 percent in 2000 and 31 percent in 1990…
Due to baby boomers “aging in place,” the population age 45 and over grew 18 times as
fast as the population under age 45 between 2000 and 2010. The aging of the U.S. population is most apparent when viewed from the perspective of age group growth patterns (Figure 1A). Each one of the broad age groups over age 45 show higher 10-year growth rates than each of those under age 45. As a consequence, the age-45-and-above population increased by more than one-quarter while the under-45 population increased by a mere 1.4 percent..
This advanced “middle aging” of our society may have important impacts on our politics, as this is the first census when persons age 45 and over represent a majority (53 percent) of the voting-age (18 and over) population. The political clout of older Americans will be even more magnifi ed if the traditional higher turnout of this group continues, and as the competition for resources between the old and the young becomes more intense.
OK, it’s no secret that America is aging. But U.S. Census numbers reveal sharp differences in where younger populations are locating. Interesting numbers emerge from taking a close look at the recent Census counts.
Due to baby boomers “aging in place,” the population age 45 and over grew 18 times as fast as the population under age 45 between 2000 and 2010. All states and metropolitan areas are showing noticeable growth in their older and “advanced middle age” populations which, for the first time, comprise a majority of the nation’s voting-age population.
Although all parts of the nation are aging, there is a growing divide between areas that are experiencing gains or losses in their younger populations. In 28 of the 50 states, and 36 of the 100 largest metro areas, the population below age 45 declined from 2000 to 2010. Yet in 29 metro areas, including Las Vegas, Orlando, Houston, and Atlanta, the under-45 population grew by at least 10 percent over the decade.
Areas experiencing the fastest senior (age 65+) growth are located in the Sun Belt, while areas with the highest concentrations of seniors are located primarily in Florida, the Northeast, and the Midwest. Yet baby boom generation “pre-seniors,” now just turning 65, are growing rapidly in all areas of the country due to aging in place. College towns such as Austin, Raleigh, Provo, and Madison are among those where pre-seniors are growing fastest.
Suburbs are aging more rapidly than cities with higher growth rates for their age-45-and-above populations and larger shares of seniors. People age 45 and older represent 40 percent of suburban residents, compared to 35 percent of city residents.
Metropolitan suburbs differ sharply in the degree to which they are attracting young adults and children. The suburbs of 34 metropolitan areas, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest, registered declines in their child and under-45 populations in the 2000s, leaving high concentrations of “advanced middle aged” and older residents. An even larger number of cities experienced losses in these younger populations.
We eagerly await the visit from broadcasting legend Tom Brokaw, as he will keynote the Indiana Chamber’s 21st Annual Awards Dinner in November. And while Brokaw is retired from the national news, it seems he hasn’t quite given up his journalistic desire. Be sure to mark your calendars or set your DVRs to record his March 4 presentation on CNBC about the Baby Boomber Generation. Here is some info:
They were born between 1946 and 1964, a vast and prosperous group of Americans who lived through the Cold War, Vietnam, Watergate and the housing bubble. They wore Buster Browns, played with hula-hoops, ate at the drive-thru and watched the Beatles play on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Raised during a time of unprecedented affluence, they exhibited extraordinary optimism and faith in the future. Now, as the oldest among them approach the age of retirement, they face a world of new challenges and opportunities they never anticipated or dreamed possible.
On Thursday, March 4th at 9PM ET/PT, CNBC presents “TOM BROKAW REPORTS: BOOMER$!” a CNBC original reported by NBC News Special Correspondent Tom Brokaw. After defining “The Greatest Generation” in his bestselling book, Brokaw now turns his sights to their successors, the generation that vowed to change the world.
“Now, at this critical crossroads in the nation and in their lives, what do boomers do next – and how do they get there? It’s a question that affects all of us and will for a long time to come,” said Brokaw.
When the Indiana Chamber Foundation released its Workforce Wise report last week, it invited Mac Parker and Martha Lamkin to the event to add some perspective. Neither disappointed. Their personal stories are symbolic of the entire study — taking advantage (both on the job and in the community) of the experiences and passions of the Baby Boomer generation.
A few of their insights and comments:
Parker, an attorney with Baker & Daniels for more than 50 years, brought with him nearly 20-year-old magazine clippings broaching this same subject — the consequences of an aging workforce. While the tendency then was to "push this back" and "talk about that tomorrow," Parker emphasized that "tomorrow is here now."
He noted the dramatic difference in 75 million Baby Boomers and 25 million members of Generation X.
Finally, Parker said he was glad to see attention to the subject of what communities can do for potential retirees, describing that group as "very desirable new residents."
Lamkin has enjoyed a long and successful career in education-related issues, philanthropy and community involvement. She sees tremendous value in not forgetting about older Hoosiers both in the workplace and in society.
"Employers need to value this mature, reliable element of the workforce. We want to keep those persons engaged in the workplace and in a mentoring role," she says. "I also encourage every person to be engaged in community life. For older adults, it’s personal fulfillment, an opportunity to own our community responsibilities."
Helping educate young people is one of those areas of responsibility. While sons and daughters may have already passed through the education system, older Hoosiers can still, Lamkin explains, "run for the school board, mentor students, be part of booster organizations," and in the big picture, simply be a "positive influence in students’ lives."
The Workforce Wise web site has the latest report, as well as other informative studies. Lamkin and Mark Lawrance, the Chamber VP who oversaw the study over the past year, will appear on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick to discuss the latest. See when the show airs in your area (during Christmas week).
A blog post by the Cato Institute raises an interesting question: What happens when taxpayers can’t afford to pay the salaries and benefits of the expanding government workforce? The obvious answer is, "Taxpayers can always afford it." We’ll just likely end up debating the meaning of the word "afford" as much as President Clinton debated the meaning of the word "is." At any rate, the post from Tad DeHaven (former deputy director of the Indiana OMB, btw) is worthwhile:
Dennis Cauchon of USA Today and Stephane Fitch of Forbes recently penned articles on the excessive nature of state and local government employee benefits and the threat taxpayers face as a result.
First, Cauchon reports that “State and local governments have set aside virtually no money to pay $1 trillion or more in medical benefits for retired civil servants…With bills coming due as Baby Boomers start to retire, states, cities, school districts and other governments may be forced to raise taxes, cut benefits or both — a task made especially difficult in an economic downturn.”
I would add that the task of cutting benefits for government employees is especially difficult because state and local politicians are generally beholden to the government employee unions. Even those policymakers not predisposed to carry water for the unions are hesitant to ruffle the feathers of a sizable voting block, not to mention a vocal one that still has a lot of regular citizens conned into believing government employees are underpaid, selfless, public “servants.” Trust me, I’ve witnessed this game first hand.
Cauchon also spotlights the big picture problem: “These medical costs are part of a larger burden taxpayers face in providing health care for an aging population. The federal government has a $1.2 trillion unfunded obligation to pay medical costs for retired federal workers and military personnel. Medicare and Social Security push the nation’s unfunded promises above $50 trillion.” He also notes that the same private sector employees who pay for these benefits via taxes are not so lucky: “Unlike private companies, most governments subsidize health insurance for retired employees.”