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Building Your Career During a Retirement Boom

Never before has the number of people nearing retirement been so high in Canada. By 2041, nearly 1 in 5 seniors will be aged 65 or older.

As for Alberta, labour market information (LMI) tells us the last of our baby boomers will reach age 65 in 2030. It’s impossible to say for sure how many of these people will actually retire by 65, but we know that many will.

Our aging population is also creating demand for goods and services that seniors need and enjoy. The choices that baby boomers make could create interesting opportunities for generation X, the millennials, and generation Z.

What the aging workforce means for younger workers

The aging of so many baby boomers means many things for society as a whole, and for younger workers in particular:

  • Many workers who have key skills and hold leadership roles will leave the workforce.
  • Companies will need new people with skills and leadership potential to take their place.
  • Companies may access other labour pools, such as youth, Indigenous people, newcomers to Canada, and people with disabilities.
  • Industries that provide goods to seniors will create new jobs.
  • Professions that support seniors will be in strong demand, including nursing, health care aide, house cleaners, and many more.

Use labour market information to plan your career

Given all the opportunities opening up, it makes sense to keep your eye on LMI about populations, jobs, industries, and wages. LMI can help you make smart choices about your education and career by revealing key trends and helping you see the opportunities open to you. It can tell you:

  • What jobs and skills will be more, or less, in demand
  • Which industries will be hiring, and where
  • What kind of training you will need to make the most of the job market

Suppose you are a registered nurse. You could look at the trends and see that, as Alberta ages, jobs may emerge in retirement homes, nursing homes, hospitals, and clinics. Some of these will be leadership roles, since baby boomers are advanced in their careers.

Using LMI, you could begin to train for a management role or specialize in caring for seniors, if these goals match your interests and values.

You could also look at LMI for broader information related to your field. For example, is the health-care sector overall expected to grow? If you work in construction and want to start a small business, you could adapt homes to make them safer for seniors.

Find creative ways to get ahead

As baby boomers retire, workplaces and the job market are changing in many ways that could affect your career. Here are some ideas for getting ahead during what could prove to be a golden opportunity for an ambitious young worker.

Find a mentor

With the looming retirement boom, many Canadian companies report they are not taking the steps they should to make sure retiring employees pass on their knowledge and skills.

Only about half of baby boomers report they are sharing all or most of the knowledge the younger generations will need. This means that many new employees must start from scratch in learning their jobs.

There’s an opportunity for younger workers willing to take the time and trouble to find a mentor. Doing so can increase your knowledge, boost your career, and benefit your company.

Be aware of automation and artificial intelligence

Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) provide an interesting opportunity for many types of workers. On the one hand, younger workers may wish to avoid careers where automation could put them out of a job. On the other hand, automation may help fill gaps in the workforce by supporting people in their work.

As baby boomers retire and companies navigate the challenges of worker shortages, consider the effects that automation and AI will have on the careers you’re interested in. Plan your education accordingly, and consider choosing a career where automation and AI could support you.

Keep your eyes open for opportunities

The Bank of Canada has predicted that companies will actively seek out groups that have been underrepresented to increase the size of the workforce as baby boomers retire. This includes women, youth, people with disabilities, and Indigenous people. Great opportunities may also be available to skilled immigrants.

We know for sure that mass retirements are coming to Alberta over the next several years. Educate yourself about the opportunities available and make smart choices to boost your career.

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