Boomers: Retirement impacts

April 3, 2011

Pumpjack on Prairies

Stats Canada projects in the next decade about 30% of the Canadian workforce will retire. In my industry alone, oil and gas, it will leave about 40,000 job vacancies. This is without the impact of oil prices and activity levels.

Virtually ever other industry including small business will be impacted by the boomers leaving the workforce. Now it will give younger persons starting out great opportunities, but most of the rookies in the workforce need about ten years to build experience to the levels of those workers leaving. This results in a knowledge gap.

Some of this knowledge gap can be filled by hiring the boomers back as consultants on short term basis. Most boomers don’t want to quite cold-turkey anyway it seems. Many of my friends who have retired out the door ahead of me are back working part time. Great opportunities for all generations it seems.

Suggested Reading:

“Severe labour crunch forecast for oilpatch as workers retire”, by Dino O’Meara, Calgary Herald, March 29, 2011.

“The Decade Ahead 2010-2020”, report by Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada, 2009.

The Boomer Generation

March 11, 2011

When the Second World War (1939 – 1945) ended millions of men returned home to wives and girlfriends most hadn’t seen in years. Guess what happened? Nine months later there began a baby boom the likes of which had never been seen, and hasn’t been seen since. In Canada anyone born between 1947 and 1967 is considered a “baby boomer” or “boomer” for short.

Truly effective birth control, the pill, wasn’t available until the mid 1960’s, so in most cases sex resulted in babies, lots of them. This was not a bad thing, after all these men and women wanted to return to a normal life after six long years of war abroad and on the home front.

Couples wanted to put the war behind them. They wanted marriage and family, and did they ever succeed. Some factoids on the baby boom:

  • During the years 1947 to 1966 in Canada there were over 400,000 babies born each year. The highest year was 1959 with 479,000 born.
  • In the United States during roughly the same period over 4,000,000 were born each year.
  • At the height of the boom Canadian women averaged four offspring each.

I am a “boomer” as are my siblings. We were born in 1949, 1951, and 1955 respectively. Now over sixty years later our generation is beginning to enter our retirement years.

Our generation makes up the largest individual segment of the Canadian population (more than 30%). With retirement comes two key questions for Canadian society,

  • Can the pension plans handle the massive numbers of retirees?
  • Can the expertise lost by industry and government be replaced?

Most boomers are healther and wealthier than previous generations, but the cost of living has skyrocketed. Better health means longer lives and more stress on retirement income sources.

The anticipated retirement of workers from the workforce will mean more opportunity for the younger generations coming into the workforce.

Baby boomers have a tremendous impact on Canadian society and will continue to be a factor for many years to come. Some factoids on the impact of the boomer generation today (stats are from the United States, but are similar here in Canada.):

  • Control over 80% of personal assets
  • Control over 50% of discretionary spending.
  • Account for more than half of consumer spending.
  • Purchase 77% of all prescription drugs.
  • Account for 80% of all leisure travel spending.

Stay tuned for more postings on my experiences as part of the Boomer Generation.

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