Expected Implications of Baby Boomer's Retirement Wave

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Management 3360: Organization Theory
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The Baby Boomers are a globally recognized cohort of individuals who were born post World War II, between 1943 and 1960 (Salahuddin, 2011). This shockwave of births resulted in the second highest births per year with 1.5 million more births than had been expected (Salahuddin, 2011). 60 years later, the boomers are in the midst of their transition towards retirement from their careers and this trend will result in nearly the largest wave of retirement that our continent has experienced. The implications of this wave have been expected and planned for, but until the consequences are realized in the 21st century economy, there is little that can be done to prepare for this economical shift. Though the effects will be experienced globally, this paper will focus on the Canadian and American economies. The ideas behind this topic are worthy of discussion as is evident by looking at research on the topic to date. The North American implications are numerous so it seems necessary to reduce the exploration of the topic to what are perceived to be the most drastic impacts in terms of organization theory. The position of this paper will be that though the wave of retirement will occur and will result in an economic and societal shift, it will not be detrimental to the staffing levels of large corporations. It will, however, have significant impacts on the day-to-day operations of organizations as they adapt to the differing work styles and preferences of the new and upcoming demographics. Additionally, the major impact that this wave will have will be on the human resource functions of the organizations, as they fight the combat of high turnover, restructuring, and the effective implementation of these changes. One of the main perceived issues is that the retirement of the baby boomers will result in a staffing shortage for the American and Canadian economies. There is quantitative evidence that supports this issue, and which states the issue in terms of the current population of older employees relative to other demographics in the workforce. However, there are a number of factors that offset this issue. Primarily, the potential issue of a labor shortage can be addressed in terms of the amount of work to be completed as opposed to the number of positions to be filled. Since 1940, productivity growth has increased 400% in the American economy (Cappelli, 2005). Productivity growth is a number to consider and one which can be increased simply by giving employees access to technologies and equipments that increase their output while simultaneously utilizing effective methods of performance management (Cappelli, 2005). This is a measure that organizations in the 21st century are likely taking already. Though the implementation and attainment of new technologies is expensive, time consuming, and will likely come with some resistance, the requirement of organizations to make these changes is just that: a requirement. Without technological innovation and improvement, the success of organizations would be highly unlikely. A major argument from Cappelli that is worth mentioning is that organizations in the past have approached their human resources needs in a manner that has accommodated their past situations, which seems natural. However, in a labor market that has supplied an abundance of highly qualified workers desperately seeking employment, as has been the situation stemming from the baby boomers presence in the labor market, it seems that the human resource departments of organizations have not been presented with an accurate reality. To address this issue, researchers and theorists seem to agree with the fact that human resources departments of organizations need to focus on retention of employees and on performance management. There are numerous ways in which organizations can direct their efforts towards retaining and managing employees as opposed to recruitment and...
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