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The Demographic Shift

Regardless of where you live or what industry you work in, there are generational demographic shifts influencing today’s workplace and marketplace.


From the wave of Boomers preparing to exit the workforce to the slew of Millennials impatiently climbing the ladder, businesses are beginning to feel the pressure of sizable changes. The longer leadership and management teams wait to examine the effects this will have on their bottom line, the tougher it will be to adapt to the changing needs of their employees and implement solutions.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

We are facing a nation that is growing older, more diverse, more digitally linked, and more tolerant. Below is a snapshot of demographic shifts by numbers:

  • 10,000 American Baby Boomers will turn 65 every day for the next 19 years.
  • The number of people in the world over 65 is set to double within just 25 years.
  • By 2020, Millennials will comprise half of the American workforce.
  • By 2025, Millennials will comprise 75% of the global workforce.
  • Millennials will be spending $2.45 trillion by 2015.
  • Millennials will outpace Boomer earning by 2018.
  • By 2042, people of color will make up the majority of the US population.

Breaking down these numbers tells a different story:

Baby Boomers

Boomers value health, youthfulness, social mobility, status, and finding meaning in their personal and professional lives. As Boomers age, communities and transit systems have to ensure they’re prepared for their huge population. Simplicity, community, and mobility will be key for this adventurous generation. In the workplace, many Boomers are staying in the careers longer out of desire and out of necessity. Nothing is more important than engaging the Boomer workforce—their experience and knowledge must be shared and used to build strong workforces for a sustainable present and future.

Generation X

Sandwiched between two behemoth generations is Gen X. This cohort of 30- and 40-somethings is ready to take the next step at work while masterfully balancing their personal and professional lives, but they may be feeling stuck underneath the “gray ceiling.” Many organizations are at a loss as to what to do about this complex generation, but we have answers… we actually wrote a whole blog about it.

Millennials

Millennials value customization, collaboration, choice, and accessibility. Their size outnumbers other generations around the globe. For example, there are more people under the age of 25 in India than there are humans in the US. Millennials are incredibly diverse; approximately one-fourth of American Millennials are Hispanic. By 2050, minorities will represent 54% of America’s population. The potential impact of this diversity can be seen in the 2012 presidential election where Hispanics cast 18% of the votes but only half of eligible Hispanics voted. The size and diversity of this generation is already shifting cities, communities, and the workplace.

Many Millennials are still supported by their Boomer parents and delaying many social and financial obligations compared to generations past; 40% of Millennial men (and 32% of women) lived in their parents’ homes in 2012. Though that percentage may be smaller now, Millennials’ strong interdependent relationship with their parents has an impact on how they make big decisions and purchases.

Organizations are starting to feel the weight of these demographic shifts and see the effects on their bottom line. Creating an environment where every generation feels valued and respected during these changes is key to keeping businesses vital, prosperous, and relevant.