Baby Boomers and the Void of Leadership Ahead

The void of leadership is ahead due to the upcoming retirement of the baby boomer generation. According to the United States Department of Labor 41% of the U.S. labor force will be over the age of 55, and one third of that group will be over the age of 65. The department projects that the oldest generation of workers, known as the Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), will be out of the workforce entirely within 10 years.

This indicates that within the next five to ten years, every industry and business in the country will be losing a large segment of their workforce — especially those workers who are in management and leadership positions.

Technology will cushion the blow as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Automation, will help companies do more with less. Value added work will be an emphasis on most job requirements. Some believe that job sharing, part-time work arrangements and consultants will also be ways of bridging the gap as companies adjust.

Formalized leadership development programs will be essential to speed up the process of getting current employees the needed skills that will be vacating but there will be attrition to contend with as well.

Companies have been fighting each other for top candidates prior to the pandemic. Now add layoffs, furloughs, and restructured compensation/benefits to the mix along with record-low employment. We are in the incredibly unique time and a void in leadership is brewing on the horizon. Below is a breakdown, by generation, of are economy’s succession plan.

Generation X

Gen X (born 1965-1980) development has been stalled due to the vast population of boomers. There is no evil conspiracy theory behind this, but Gen X hasn’t been given the same leadership opportunities. Boomers have stayed in the workforce longer than previous generations and have held on to their positions longer as well. This Gen X has not had the kind of promotions that can be expected of people their prior generations. Will Gen X be up to that task to take the torch or do employers need to add resources to help them make the leap?

Millennials (Gen Y)

Gen Y (1981-1996) is a slightly larger generation than the boomers (76 million vs. 75 million) and much larger the Gen X (51 million). Since Gen X has fewer people it is logical to assume that many millennials will have a faster track to leadership roles. Companies will have to think outside the box on how to support their employees as the transfer of knowledge will come at a ferocious pace.


I believe that talent will be at a premium as many companies will to struggle to fill leadership roles with adequately knowledgeable and skilled individuals in the next 10 years. People Analytics will have a tremendous effect in understand our people and the resources that are being utilized or not. We have a blank slate and those who prepare now can have the ability to recruit and retain top talent.

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Written by:

Mike DePaulo, LSSBB
All Pro Recruiting, LLC

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