How to Navigate an Aging Workforce

an older man talks with employees

While cities like Austin, Madison, and Colorado Springs have experienced a wave of young people seeking employment, a recent CareerBuilder survey found that many cities (like Oklahoma City, Sacramento, and Spokane) are aging more rapidly, with larger percentages of baby boomers entering or reaching retirement. 

It is important for companies to be aware of the aging workforce within local markets, as accessibility to younger talent will be a critical component to growth strategies. In addition to the importance of having access to a pool of entry-level talent, companies should also be aware of the generational differences in workplace preferences in order to appeal to a younger workforce. Most successful workplaces understand that a one size fits all approach is rarely effective, and this could not be truer when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.

So what should companies located in those cities with more rapidly aging workforce populations consider to stand out from the competition when recruiting and retaining younger talent? Addison Group’s Workplace Survey highlights several unique differences between boomers and millennials when it comes to both preferences in workplace benefits and management styles.

Salary and Benefits, Training Opportunities, Work-life Balance

Millennials were the most focused on salary and benefits, with 65% concerned with benefits and 61% with a higher salary. That being said, Gen Xers were the most likely to leave a job if they weren’t making enough money. Boomers were the least concerned with salary, at 54%.

While nearly 20% of millennials surveyed cited satisfaction with the training opportunities available to them at work, only 10% of boomers shared that sentiment.

Boomers were the most satisfied with their work-life balance, at 54%, whereas millennials were the least satisfied, at just 41%. 

Management Preferences

Boomers were the most disinterested in being managers and ranked the highest in preferring to work alone, however they also valued their manager’s attention more than Gen Xers and millennials. Only 30% of millennials found a manager to be important for professional growth, with another 27% saying that was important for a manager to make time for them.

Despite the fact that not all boomers are entering retirement quite yet, and Gen Xers’ preferences will still hold plenty of weight, it will remain vital for organizations planning for the future to understand how to compete for talent. And while it is particularly important for those in cities with higher numbers of boomers to do so, companies in labor markets across the U.S. will experience the need to meet the requirements of the majority millennial population. 


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