While millennials are the focus of many attraction and retention conversations, some C-suite and benefit executives forget an important generation still in the workforce: the baby boomers. While boomers may not have the novelty factor, there are still plenty of reasons you may want them on your team. Glassdoor has focused on these top reasons not to overlook this generation.
Sometimes, there’s no substitute for time and experience. Boomers can share mistakes and business and institutional knowledge the younger workforce just doesn’t have.
Alphabet (formerly Google) executive chairman Eric Schmidt arrived at the company in 2001 in the role of CEO, brought on to “babysit” company co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Glassdoor notes. At the time, Schmidt was in his mid-40s, and Page and Brin were in their late 20s. With 18 years more life and business experience, the baby boomer was able to run the company in a way his brilliant-but-green Gen X counterparts simply weren’t equipped to do. “All these years later, his results speak for themselves.”f
A different perspective
Along with age and experience come different outlooks on ideas. This alternate viewpoint can be valuable in fields considered to be the exclusive domains of younger generations, like digital marketing. “In my line of work, it helps to be incredibly open to how the widest variety of people search for new content and consume it,” says Michael Johnson, director of search marketing for Proformative, a professional development platform for financial pros. “If I’m not pushing myself to be open to other ways of using search, I’m not as effective. I think baby boomers, having seen more change and experienced more types of human experience than a person just a few years into their career, are often more open to the variety of possibilities and not as easily taken in by the web fad du jour.”
A boomer’s credibility can vary slightly in some fields, such as the tech industry, where those in their 30s are over the hill. But when it comes to many industries – think surgery or even real estate – employees that bring 30+ years of experience along with them will usually be taken more seriously by customers than a 20-something-year-old with an MBA fresh out of grad school.
This is particularly noticeable among the younger generation who grew up on the Internet. Sometimes it seems like no one ever picks up the phone, let alone takes the time for an in-person conversation. “Millennials have been texting, emailing and messaging since their formative years, so text-based communication is frequently their default,” Glassdoor says. “While this is fine with friends and family, it can present a serious disadvantage in the workplace.”1
No generation has had to adapt to an evolving world more than boomers. Technology is advancing at a rate faster than ever before, and adopting new technologies is second-nature to millennials. By and large they’re earlier adopters than boomers, but there’s also something to be said for how far baby boomers have come. “While millennials are usually more knowledgeable about the newest technologies, baby boomers have had to learn and adapt to different technologies – and completely different ways of doing things as a result – multiple times throughout their careers,” says Lidia Shong, head of marketing at aboutLife, a retirement-planning website.
As many as tens of millions of women may never return to the labor force, even after a vaccine is found. Altogether, global gross domestic product could be $1 trillion less in 2030 than it would be without a gender unemployment gap.
By Olivia Rockeman, Reade Pickert and Catarina Saraiva