When the Boomers Bail – How will your community do?

In the previous post, I took several quotes from the book “When the Boomers Bail: A Community Economic Survival Guide“ that related to Baby Boomers staying in the workplace.  In this post, I will discuss what happens when we leave the workforce.

The author paints the picture that as baby boomers leave the job market there will not be enough qualified workers to take their places.  It is not that there will not be enough workers but there will not be enough qualified workers.

The reason for this is baby boomers did not have enough children AND our educational system has not properly prepared our children to take our place. I understand all too clearly how our educational systems have failed. I taught high school math in an inner city high school from 2004 through 2006.  What I saw was a population that was not prepared to step into the workplace and culturally, they did not believe they had a chance to be successful. This was a culture of poverty.

The author states our population can be classified in 4 catagories:

  1. Qualified workers – These are workers who have the qualifications that the current workplace requires.
  2. Unqualified workers – These are workers who do not have the qualifications the current workplace requires. The workers could have been qualified at one time but if an industry leaves a community then their skills are no longer needed and they become unqualified.  For example, in Austin in the late 1990s we had numerous semiconductor manufacturing facilities.  Today there is one.  The need for semiconductor manufacturing skill has been greatly reduced.
  3. Too young to work – This is our children who have not reached working age.
  4. Too old to work – This is our retired population.  As this population grows relative to size of qualified workers they become an ever growing burden on our economy.

Baby Boomers today make up a huge portion of the qualified workers. As they retire and move to the too old to work and too few of the young replace them then we will have a labor shortage.  The author asserts that communities that can retain and attract qualified workers in sufficient numbers will be successful.  Those communities that do not will the economies will wither. The most valuable resource in the future will be qualified workers. Communities will need to compete for qualified workers.

One part of the solution is for Baby Boomers to stay in the work force longer AND stay qualified.  The important part of that last statement if for us to stay qualified! Unfortunately, this is a temporary fix.  Another part of the solution is to fix our educational system such that all of our youth complete high school. It is in our national interest to fix both our k-12 educational system AND have our higher educational system produce graduates with degrees and skills that our economy needs. Do we have the political will to do this?

As Baby Boomers leave the work force will your community be able to keep enough qualified workers to support the local economy? Will you stay qualified?

You can get a copy of this book from Amazon by clicking on the link above.

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If you are interested in learning more about career change for Baby Boomers please visitmy website.

Marc Miller Career Change Coach

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