Handle with Care: You May Need Those Aging Baby Boomers

By Margaret Clark

Not so many years ago, if an HR department thought at all about its company's over-50 workforce, it probably was in connection with downsizing and early retirement packages or long-term care insurance. Nowadays, if you are not already head to head with top management plotting how to retain your company's baby boomer contingent and scheming over ways to recruit even older workers, your head must be someplace else. In the proverbial sand, maybe?

It's a matter of simple arithmetic. The baby boom generation represents 18 years of population explosion during the years 1946 to 1964. The first of 78 million baby boomers turned 50 years old on January 1, 1996. The percentage of workers age 55 and older will grow twice as fast as the total labor force and will amount to 14 percent of the U.S. labor force by the year 2005.

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