Monday October 07, 2013 | 08:17 AM
Posted by Barbara Babkirk

If you’re asking “why?”, then you’re not aware of the sobering statistics heralding a significant labor shortage in the nation, and especially in Maine, with the oldest population in the U.S.

Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, make up a large slice (30%) of Maine’s population and if they follow the traditional pattern, will retire within the next 10 years. That enormous exodus of talent, expertise and labor would be devastating to the economy.
However, those of us in the second half of life are projected to have an additional 30 years of quality years giving us more time to do things we’ve deferred, but also time to try out a new career or continue on in our jobs well past the traditional retirement age.

The importance of meaningful work increases as we age. Therefore, boomers are likely to have different priorities as they live into their second half of life years. While many are expected to continue working well into their 70’s, it’s not likely to be business as usual in terms of what they’ll want as they extend their tenure at work.

If employers want to stem the tide of a labor shortage, they’d be wise to think creatively now about ways to re-engage and retain workers over 50.

In addition to blogs I've written on midlife and later years that you can view on my website, here are ideas to consider to keep Boomers engaged and productive:

  • Offer sabbaticals (paid and focused leaves of absence) designed to re-tool, renew and re-engage people who’ve been working half of their lives.
  • Create opportunities to re-train this population that is committed to life long learning.
  • Develop mentoring and reverse mentoring (younger employees teach veteran employees new skills) programs to create a smoother transition from one generation to the next in the workplace.
  • Explore personalized alternate work arrangements (part-time, flex time, job sharing) as options to retain quality employees in lieu of retirement.
  • Place greater emphasis on meaningful work that matters and clearly communicate the value the employee brings to the organization.
  • Provide opportunities for talented seasoned workers to continue after their official retirement as “in-house consultants”, working fewer hours and participating in succession plans that involve the passing on of valuable information and processes.


About this Blog

Barbara Babkirk is a Master Career Counselor and founder of Heart At Work Associates, a career counseling and outplacement firm in Portland.

With a focused and intuitive approach, Barbara makes a difference in people’s lives by helping them design a new life chapter. She has a successful record guiding career transitions for professionals ranging from executives and artists to attorneys and entrepreneurs.

An expert in her field, Barbara is a public speaker on work-related topics writes a solutions-oriented column about work for the Portland Sunday Telegram.


Scott Woodard is a career coach with Heart At Work Associates, a career counseling and outplacement business in Portland, Maine.

Scott works with clients to identify and articulate their value and their personal brand. He helps clients develop clear, concise and crisp messaging to convey their particular difference, their achievements and their approach.

Scott coaches clients to market their brand through social media platforms, especially LinkedIn. He offers monthly workshops on how to make the most of LinkedIn for businesses or job seekers.

Previous entries

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013


October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

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