The over 50’s are a third of Australia’s population.
In this 4 part series, we provide insights on baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) encompassing a range of topics from work and health to attitudes and technology. As a burgeoning market, it’s worthwhile investing time to gaining understanding as knowledge is necessary for new markets. This first part provides a brief introduction and then talks about work.
Abolish assumptions about the over 50’s
What do baby boomers need and want?
In the first instance, it’s important to recognise the diversity within this age group. In fact as we age, we become more different rather than similar. Assuming a 50-year-old is the same as a 70-year-old is like assuming that a 20-year-old is the same as a 40-year-old. There’s as much variability amongst baby boomers or those 50+ as there is with any age group (in fact more so).
Overall baby boomers seek to be recognised and not ignored.
What about work?
One of the challenges for people as they age, particularly for the over 50’s, is that either retaining a job or getting a job becomes more difficult. However, even in employment, there’s diversity.
Often younger baby boomers don’t want to give up work. They’d like to continue to contribute in a workplace. Some seek to work full-time. Others would prefer to work part-time with a level of flexibility that accommodates volunteering, mentorship, or caring responsibilities (baby boomers are also part of the ‘sandwich generation’ – a topic I’ll explore in the future).
It’s also possible a baby boomer would like to remain working part-time in a role that carries less responsibility. The movie ‘The Intern’ is a great example of employing an older person.
“Reverse mentoring” is also an emerging trend that some organisations are embracing and something that can go both ways. There’s also an opportunity for intergenerational job-sharing.
Simultaneously, older baby boomers are ready to finish work and seek other ways of being involved with community and remaining engaged and mentally stimulated.
Don’t be. Given the increasing move to flexible workplaces, baby boomers could conceivably be the perfect fit for organisations willing to think laterally. The first step is to gain insights for understanding. Understanding potentially reveals opportunity, and ultimately, with imagination and desire, leads to innovation.