Older Workers are the Future of Work

This author’s words are too valuable to not share…

Published on August 1, 2017
By Dean Barber, Principal at BBA: A Good Process Ensures a Good Product

In my last blog, which I modestly titled, “The Future of Everything,” I said that predicting how technology will affect the future of work is pretty much a fool’s game.

We should keep in mind John Kenneth Galbraith’s reminder that, “We have two classes of forecasters: Those who don’t know — and those who don’t know they don’t know.”

The older I get, the more I realize how much I do not know. But if I were to hazard a guess, it would be that AI-engineered robots will probably not take all of our jobs and then kill us. But I could be wrong.

Also, as I outlined in my last blog, I believe the findings of a group called Shift: The Commission on Work, Workers, and Technology, a joint project of New America and Bloomberg, has great value as it portends to the future of work.

The Commission outlined four core scenarios that could play out in the next 10 to 20 years, each reflecting whether there will be more or less work, and whether work will exist in the form of jobs or fragmented into “tasks.”

If you want a quick snapshot of those four scenarios, again I would refer you to my last blog or better yet go to the Shift Commission website.

Shaping Places

The future of work will shape cities and regions, but I seldom hear my friends in economic development talk about it. Understandably, much of their focus is on the most pressing question as to whether people in their respective communities have the skills to perform the jobs today.

Disturbing to some, the data shows that the richest cities are pulling away from the rest, with discrepancies in access to education, technology, capital, and networking opportunities.

This is in keeping with Brooking Institution’s reports of the last few years that American cities and metropolitan areas have firmly established themselves as the engines of the nation’s economy and are the centers of technological innovation and global trade and investment.

(I hope to tackle this subject and the notion of innovation districts in cities in an upcoming blog.)

A Profound Impact

Millennials (adults ages 18 to 34), are now the largest share of the American workforce (more than one-in-three American workers), but older adults will have the most profound impact in the coming years on both the supply of labor and the demand for workers.

By 2024, the Shift Commission report notes, nearly one-quarter of the workforce is projected to be 55 or older — more than double the share in 1994. Falling fertility rates and tighter immigration rules mean U.S. employers will likely need to hire and keep older workers just to get the job done in coming decades.

“We will need older workers to do the work,” said MIT AgeLab Director Joseph Coughlin at the Milken Institute Global Conference.

Retiring Retirement

While many consumer companies are gearing their businesses toward a growing “active aging” market, many if not most companies still do not understand that it is in their long-term best interest to retire this whole idea of retirement.

“Older people have so much to offer as workers, colleagues and mentors. It is in the business community’s self-interest to recruit, train, promote and retain them,” wrote Paul Irving, chairman of the Milken Institute for the Future of Aging.

The concept of formally ending work at age 65, while it may have been appropriate in the last century, does not make a lot of sense today. Seventy-two percent of pre-retirees want to work past 65, and nearly half of current retirees either have worked in retirement or plan to, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch/Age Wave 2015 report, Work in Retirement: Myths and Motivations.

Major Cost Savings

Eventually, however, more companies will see the light and older workers will become more in demand particularly for reasons of costs. The fact that older workers on Medicare don’t require primary medical insurance will prove to be a major cost savings for employers.

Companies will also like the fact that millions of retirees will move to freelance, part-time or contract employment with no benefits having to be paid.

The Real Gig Workers

While young people are the supposed to be the vanguards of the new economy, valuing happiness over money, gigs over jobs, and flexibility and meaning rather than status and hours at work, older Americans are being more millennial than millennials.

People over the age of 65 are four times more likely to be self-employed than those under 34, and are more likely to work part-time jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The labor force participation rate, or the share of American civilians over the age of 16 who are working or looking for a job, is expected to increase fastest for the oldest segments of the population—most notably, people ages 65 to 74 and 75 and older—through 2024. In contrast, participation rates for most other age groups in the labor force aren’t projected to change much over the 2014–24 decade.

The rise of “alternative work arrangements,” like freelancing or part-time work, jobs that often lack benefits like health care, have grown significantly in the last decade. As of late 2015, 24 percent of employed 55-75 year-olds were in alternative work arrangements, compared with just 14 percent of prime-age (25-54 year-old) workers, according to the economist Jed Kolko.

Many companies and entire industries are now beginning to realize that they are on the verge of losing a wealth of great talent. As of 2015, almost 33 percent of our workforce – including 48 percent of supervisors – was eligible to retire. Replacing that kind of talent isn’t easy.

A Rapidly Aging Workforce

The workforce is aging because the population is aging. By 2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the labor force will grow to about 164 million people, of which 41 million people will be ages 55 and older—of whom about 13 million are expected to be ages 65 and older.

While they make up a smaller number of workers overall, the 65- to 74-year-old and 75-and-older age groups are projected to have faster rates of labor force growth annually than any other age groups. This in a nutshell means that tomorrow’s seniors will retire later.

Also, it should be noted that the aging population is creating demand for health care jobs, which are projected to lead employment growth over the next decade.

Older Workers are the Future

While the overall numbers favor the millennials, older workers find themselves the future of work. Employers, not wanting to lose valuable knowledge, will do a better job at finding ways to accommodate them, while millions of older workers will transition from full-time jobs to part-time work. Look for growing numbers of older Americans in the gig economy, working freelance, with short-term contracts or with pick-up jobs.

On a personal note, I have come to epitomize that older “boomer” gig economy group. I am a 62-year-old consultant doing contract/consulting work for economic development groups and companies needing help with corporate site selection.

Through the years, I have picked up some knowhow, and I want to continue to grow by learning new stuff. I think of it as expanding my horizons while helping others, which is a pretty good gig.

I’ll see you down the road.

Dean Barber is the president/CEO of Barber Business Advisors, LLC, a location advisory and economic development consulting firm based in Dallas. BBA helps companies and communities. Mr. Barber is available as a keynotes speaker and can be reached at dbarber@barberadvisors.com

Frances J. Trelease is founder and owner of Boomer Den, LLC. Business owners in and around Hartford and Fairfield Counties: contact us for a list of mature professionals eager to pitch in to help your business grow. http://boomerden.com. Info@Boomerden.com

The Wisdom of Steve Jobs

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs

I was struck by the words of the late Steve Jobs, because they exemplify a change in philosophy that I’ve been exploring here at Boomer Den, LLC. Jobs refers to the talented individuals that companies hire; if you surround yourself with the best and the brightest, don’t box them in with your own dogma. To do so might entrap them in ways of thinking that are outdated or stale. When you allow in their fresh insights and approaches, you also see their motivation and excitement take off.

This concept resonates with me here at Boomer Den, where we supply what I call “internships for grown-ups.” I speak with many business owners, to tell them the value of bringing on a skilled, degree’d adult as an intern; individuals bring their talents to a new or related industry, and businesses enjoy a boost in manpower and efficiency. I realized that to TELL these hiring managers the value of our candidates doesn’t tell the whole story — or even part of it. We get to the heart of the matter when THEY TELL ME where their greatest skills gap is. Need someone to balance the books? Or maybe a creative type to redesign a web page? Perhaps a seasoned writer with a knack for social media blogging?

It’s all about flipping the script. Yes, there’s a lot I can say about the affordable value we provide to small and mid-sized businesses. But the real connection is made when business owners and decision makers tell me where their greatest need is, and I can IMG_1125get to work for them.

Need an IT professional with prior experience in the insurance industry? I’ll be you I have one who’s more than happy to be your “grown-up intern.” Reach out today. We’re just a phone call away.

Frances J. Trelease
Boomer Den, LLC
203-888-2740
Fran@BoomerDen.com
http://BoomerDen.com

Ct Press Club Awards Dinner — Join In On An Evening of Fun

If you’re looking for a fun evening out with an erudite, lively crowd, then don’t miss the CT Press Club’s Annual Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, May 16 at The Boathouse at Saugatuck in Westport, Conn. Bestselling novelist and author Jane Green will be the emcee for night.

I publicize this event not only because I am honored to be one of its 2017 Communications Contest winners (and I am truly honored!), but because the CT Press Club enjoys — and has earned — a reputation as a stellar group that’s brimming with talent.

Its annual competition has 64 writing and editing categories and is open to all Connecticut-based writers and editors. I entered under the “Enterprise Reporting” category, and won third place for my piece on Reverse Mentoring: The Answer for Connecticut’s Seasoned Workers: http://ctbythenumbers.info/2016/09/24/perspective-reverse-mentoring-the-answer-for-connecticuts-seasoned-workers/

This piece tells how it makes good sense for owners of small and mid-sized businesses in CT to give a chance to mid-life talent — either as interns, or directly through job placement. This age demographic brings to the table an eagerness and motivation, life skills, and years of experience and know-how. In short, they offer tremendous value. Yet too often they’ve overlooked in favor of those 10 or 20 years younger. Not only is this practice unfair, it too often backfires on employers.

There are scores of candidates just waiting for a 4-6 week internship gig to “show what they can do.” Now we look to local business owners to step up and give them a try; to take that first step.

I’m grateful that my CT Press Club entry will help share this news. If you’re a communicator, consider joining the CT Press Club in Cos Cob, CT. Better yet, start lining up some of your best entries, to get a head start on their 2018 annual competition.

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Frances J. Trelease is founder and owner of Boomer Den, LLC. Business owners in and around Hartford and Fairfield Counties: contact us for a list of mature professionals eager to pitch in to help your business grow. http://boomerden.com. Info@Boomerden.com

New Part-Time Job Openings from Boomer Den

Boomer Den is searching for high-quality, reliable candidates, ages 40+, to fill several part-time job openings around the Greater New Haven area. If interested, send your resume to Fran@Boomerden.com, or fill out the provided query form (preferable): http://www.boomerden.com/internships-for-adults.html.

Opportunities include:

Part-time accountant with CPA, to provide 25 hours / week for a manufacturing business in Oxford. Hourly rates negotiable, depending on candidate.

HR and Recruiting professional with min. 2-3 years experience in “talent acquisition,” to work for manufacturer of high end electronics. Salary range: $40-45k.

Accounts Payable clerk with 2-3 years of progressive Accounts Payable experience needed for a corporate Finance Department in Seymour. Part-time, approx. 25 hours per week.  Pay between $16-20/hour. Matching 401(K) plan included.

General shop helper / handyman for manufacturer of luxury interiors for high-end aircraft.  Seeks a quick learner who is reliable, motivated and eager to learn. Full-time, $12/hour to start, with regular evaluations and raises. Starting pay higher for those with prior experience in cabinetry, sewing or upholstery.

Cleaning person for a manufacturing/office space in Oxford. Approximately 30 hours per week, at $15/hour.

For ALL opportunities, contact Fran right away. These won’t last long!

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Frances J. Trelease is president of Boomer Den, LLC, a Connecticut agency that empowers adult workers through internships and direct job placements. She may be contacted at info@boomerden.com, or 203-888-2740. http://boomerden.com.

Empathy and Respect On the Job — Everyone Wins

Author James W. Quigley of Canvas Product News writes the following, on the importance of caring and empathy as part of the workplace culture:

What is empathy?

Empathy is not sympathy or pity. Empathy is the ability to understand and share someone else’s feelings from their perspective. It’s about putting yourself authentically in someone else’s shoes. Asking questions from their point of view and not yours, pausing, listening and thinking about the opportunities / issues from that person’s position.

A lack of empathy can be at the heart of many of the mismatched power struggles we hear about in the news. Imagine if you could authentically live in someone else’s shoes. Prior to acting, or assuming you understand why they are doing something. Empathy is the feeling that if someone would just take a moment to understand things from the other side it could change opinions faster, and create dramatic positive impact.

Empathy has a crucial place in business and it is the ability to think outside your company to think like your customers, to think about your role outside your organization. I believe that empathy can be mutually beneficial not only to an organization’s karma but also to their bottom line.

It’s a trait that’s often overlooked as we engage in our race to the top of the corporate ladder, or to the corner office, or to the fattest paycheck. But I’ve noticed, with many new candidates that come to Boomer Den, LLC,  there’s a burgeoning appreciation of the importance of community — of giving back and making a difference.

So many of my applicants say they’ve put in their 25 or 30 years in “corporate,” without feeling that intrinsic, personal reward. I see my job as helping to guide them towards opportunities in any form — internships, contract work, part-time or full-time jobs — that resonate with their values and beliefs; that make them smile from the inside.

Just today I spoke with a regional funeral director who asked me to send candidates for the part-time position of “funeral services assistant.” Easy work, steady pay…. but, he said, earmarked for a “special kind of person. These people will play crucial roles for us,” he said. “Whether you’re greeting families, parking their cars, driving them… you can’t feel this job is beneath you. That’s not our culture.”

It’s easy to see the relevance of empathy and compassion in the funeral industry. Now if we could just extend it to so many more lines of work. We’d be in business!

If interested in learning more about the current funeral assistant openings, email me at Fran@Boomerden, with resume and a paragraph or two about yourself. These jobs are based in Hartford County.

http://boomerden.com

203-888-2740

Fran@BoomerDen.com

 

PERSPECTIVE: Reverse Mentoring — Is It Time?

PERSPECTIVE: Reverse Mentoring – The Answer for Connecticut’s Seasoned Workers?
on 09/24/2016 · in PERSPECTIVE
by Frances J. Trelease

The idea first caught on a couple years ago, with the popularity of the movie “The Intern.” In that film, A-list actor Robert DeNiro plays a retired professional who accepts an internship with a trendy online fashion company, to sharpen his skills and stay engaged. By the end of the film — as you might have guessed – DeNiro earns his stripes as a valued team player who is looked to for his temperance and wisdom when chaos erupts.

The hit film brought to light the concept of reverse mentoring – millennials providing tutelage and guidance to their older counterparts in the workplace. It isn’t a new concept, but it’s rising to the surface as retired or downsized professionals seek novel ways to reenter the workforce. It plays off the “traditional” apprenticeship model, where a young trainee learns a craft or trade under the watchful eye of an older, more experienced worker. CT perspective

Jack Welsh, former CEO of General Electric, is widely credited with introducing the concept to the U.S. in 1999, when he charged his top officials with finding junior mentors to teach them the latest technologies. He was on to something, those 17 years ago.

According to U.S. Census Bureau projections, “the proportion of Connecticut’s population that is 60 and older is growing more rapidly than other sectors of the population.” The Bureau estimates that nearly 26 percent of Connecticut’s population will be 60 and older by the year 2030.

So for Connecticut’s aging workers, reverse mentoring makes good sense. Many have been phased out of jobs before they felt ready to go. Others voluntarily retired, but still have much to offer. But they face a changing work environment.

The largest hiring blocks in CT in 2016 were hospitality, transportation, financial and business services. (www.cga.ct.gov) Those fields challenge the training and skill sets of those born in the “baby boomer years” – 1948 to 1964 — who attended college or trade school before today’s digital and electronic gadgets – nay, even basic computer systems — were ubiquitous. For them, today’s millennials hold the key to the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in fields like social media marketing and applications development.

The younger set, in turn, gains insight into strategy, negotiation skills and “macro”’ views of the big picture. They become groomed to step into leadership roles when their time comes.

Who wins from this emerging trend? Both groups do. Intellectual property continues to be the singles biggest asset of corporations across the U.S. In Connecticut alone, service giants such as United Technologies Corp., The Hartford, and Stamford-based Deloitte rely on the best and the brightest minds to innovate, create and outpace the competition. Those best and brightest range anywhere from 25 to 75 years old.

Lisa Bonner is director of Change Management & Communications at Cigna in Hartford. In a recent TEDx talk, she spoke of the value of the younger set sharing social media and mobile technology knowledge with Cigna’s “senior leaders.” Bonner described “putting a 25 year old in the chairman’s office” a “leap of faith… but I knew we were going on to glory. It was difficult to take that step, but we did it. Once they opened up with each other, that’s when the magic started to happen.” (https://youtu.be/uCd7_0BTySY)

Michelle Manson is a blog writer for Chronus, (Chronus.com), which creates software to help run corporate mentoring programs. Manson writes that organizations such a Hewlett Packard, Ogilvy and Mather and Cisco have signed on to the concept.

She writes: “When Hartford Insurance started a reverse mentoring program in 2011, the aim was to train C-suite execs in the tools and culture of social media. With entry-level employees in their twenties as mentors, the business leaders soon began to appreciate the power of ‘searching’ for answers on the spot and they wanted others in the company to benefit from the same flexibility. As a result, they unlocked social networks that were previously off-limits to Hartford employees.”

q2Other benefits to reverse mentoring – improved morale and retention across the generations, not to mention colorful tweets and pings that fly across social media platforms and engage the consumer.

In Connecticut, reverse mentoring addresses just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more to be done. Initiatives such as the Platform to Employment in Bridgeport provide subsidies of $6,000 to qualifying employers if they bring on unemployed – often senior — people for eight-week training internships. The hope is that those employers will hire these men and women full-time when the internships end.

And Boomer Den, LLC of Oxford, CT works exclusively with adults ages 45 and older, to fit them to internships, temp-to-hire and permanent positions around the state. In many cases, candidates show up to work ready to learn from those a generation or two younger.

Independent forecasters estimate that half our U.S. workforce will be made up by workers born in the mid-1980s or later. It’s time in Connecticut to bridge generational gaps. It’s time we take a step back – and then a solid leap forward, toward pooling our talents for mutual gain.

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Frances J. Trelease is president of Boomer Den, LLC, a Connecticut agency that empowers adult workers through internships and job placement opportunities. She may be contacted at info@boomerden.com.

PERSPECTIVE commentaries by contributing writers appear each Sunday on Connecticut by the Numbers.

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Fall 2016 Career Opportunities

FALL 2016 CAREER OPENINGS
CHECK BACK WEEKLY FOR NEW OPPORTUNITIES!

For ALL opportunities, email me directly at fran@boomerden.com, or call me at 203-888-2740.

OPENINGS FOR FULL-TIME JOBS

A real estate agency in Cheshire seeks intern-to-perm social media expert. This person would quickly transition to full time, responsible for managing social media campaigns and obtaining online reviews from current and past clients. Salary and benefits. Reputable firm, great local reputation.

A manufacturing firm in East Haven seeks a temp-to-perm web developer. This person will redesign an existing website and create an e-commerce site and small business portal. Outstanding company, great opportunity for someone with industry experience.

A language institute in New Haven seeks bilingual and multi-lingual people to send out as per-diem medical and legal interpreters. Outstanding hourly pay. CRITICAL NEED FOR FOLLOWING LANGUAGES: CAMBODIAN, SOMALIAN, TIBETIAN.

A manufacturing firm in Seymour seeks a full-time inside sales professional, who is also comfortable on the plant floor. This person will use skills both in the office and in warehousing, and will be trained to company specifics. Reputable company, good people.

AVAILABLE CANDIDATES FOR BUSINESSES:

MANY interns with prior experience in IT and technology, software.

Interns available with interest in non-profits, fundraising, grant writing and event planning.

Interns available with interest in bookkeeping and front office administrative support.

Interns available with project management and marketing experience

update-feb

Mid-life Internships Expand in Connecticut

The time is now to celebrate the skills of mid-life adults. So said Frances Trelease, president of Boomer Den, LLC in Oxford, as she addressed members of the Tribury Rotary Club  in Southbury this spring.

internships

Boomer Den helps mid-life adults explore new or encore careers via short-term, structured internships.   Existing and transferable talents and skills are matched to employer needs, and each side is afforded a risk-free “test run” of the other.

Organized by local business leader Rob Webb, the meeting took place at social hour, as Rotarians gathered to learn about Boomer Den’s programs, and the value they bring to local small and mid-sized businesses. “Talented adults ages 40-65 represent a huge, untapped market,” she said. “Our goal is to provide that gateway back to meaningful careers, while meeting the needs of business owners.”

Along with senior account manager Colette Mombo of Southbury, Trelease was pleased to answer questions and address the group.  “Experienced adults are poised and ready to make a difference,” Trelease said. “That’s why Boomer Den is here.”

Boomer Den is also in partnership with the Workforce Alliance in New Haven, allowing qualified businesses who choose to hire their interns a reimbursement of up to 75 percent of the first year’s salary.

Income by Region – How Does Yours Rate?

From Time Labs, January 2016:

The recession officially ended in 2009, but millions of Americans are still feelings its effects. Using new figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, TIME Labs mapped out, county by county, where and how incomes have changed since the recovery began. Check your county at labs.time.com

midcareer

The need is there to get midlife adults back to work. Boomer Den oversees that rewarding relationship, to provide a safe, guided experience for all. Visit http://BoomerDen.com, featured on ION Media Networks, Public Access TV Channel 14, in the Republican American newspaper, and on the AARP-CT home page. http://states.aarp.org/reimagining-your-career-at-50-plus-sc-ct-wp-money/