Declining Wages Caused by Baby Boomer’s Ages?

Here’s an interesting theory.  I just had a light bulb moment so I hope you don’t mind if I rant a little.  Of course, you’ve noticed a downturn in the number of available retail workers on duty at your favorite store, right?  You’re out on your shopping trip, you have a list, you need help finding something particular or just need assistance or have a question…and there is no one in sight?


HEY! Is this the only color you have??


If you’re corporate level – of course you know why.  If you’re at regional, district, or store level management level, you also know why.  When it comes to cutting costs, you cut “controllable expenses”.  Operating expenses are non-negotiable because you have to keep the lights on, and you have to pay for your building, taxes and utilities.  That makes perfect sense.  If I had a business and needed to trim some fat, I would do the same thing – cut payroll hours or cut people.  It’s just good business…on paper.  Okay, and financially too.  You have to be smart and try to get that P&L under control.

This scenario can go in many directions from here.

The basics is this:  you cut jobs;  all of a sudden you have more unemployment.  As unemployment goes up you start to hear propaganda about another possible recession.  People panic and stop spending money.  Then because of decreased sales…you cut more jobs.  Or you cut hours, and your employees can’t afford to live on part time wages.  They have to get more than one job just to pay the bills, and now that they’re part time, securing benefits for their families can get expensive, plus they have no control over how much they earn.  360 degrees and spinning.

Enough about retail…let’s shift gears to just “work in general”.

I see something else happening too.  It’s the retiring Baby Boomer with that big fat salary and cushy job title.  They have either been pushed out of their jobs, or they are finally retiring.  Those climbing the ladder think to themselves…”it’s about damn time”.  Why?  Because they have been waiting with baited breath to move up and better there careers, but they had to wait for someone to leave.  Am I right?


You are poised for success.  The position of your dreams is finally available.  You put your name in the hat…than BOOM.  You find out the position pay structure is not your friend.  Of course you know you’re not getting the same pay as your predecessor; you knew that.  What you didn’t know was that the new structure is now topped out way below what that boomer was earning.

This is what I mean:  They retired and left at a salary of $65,000.  That’s cool.  You’re at $45,000 so you think, Okay, I’ll hope to get $55,000 – seems fair.  You’re great at what you do, you’ve been noticed and it’s your time!  First off, don’t expect more than maybe a 9% raise unless you’re lucky.  That would be roughly $49,050.  Just be prepared.  You might get the promotion, and it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a raise.  You knew that, right?  Now most companies will give you a raise…they want to keep you so they will dangle that carrot in front of you; they want to retain great employees and keep them engaged and productive.  But understand that a new pay structure is a natural step in order to control that “controllable expense”.  Don’t take it personal.

Take the gig.  You’re making progress.  You’ve earned that title, don’t let the pay stop you.  Unless you’re only in it for the money.  And I hope you aren’t comparing your “worth” to your “wealth”.  If you are, you’re not being fair to yourself.  If you choose to leave, wait.  Like I suggested…take the job and bide your time.  Learn new things.  Take advantage of benefits and perks.  Get good solid training and experience for your resume.  And…don’t be mad at the boomer.  They worked hard to get there just like you are right now.

Just be patient.  Do the time.  Someday it’s going to be you at the top, retiring, and someone breathing down your neck for your job.

You’ll find reports just about anywhere on the number of baby boomers out there.  I see 76 million consistently.  WOW.  That’s what…1/4 of the U.S. population!


Retired and on top of the world!


That’s a lot of jobs, people.  Jobs that can be yours, if you’re next in line.  This is a huge shift in the dynamics of corporate structures.  I’m kind of excited about that.  I know, I know…here I am a baby boomer myself and I tell you, I’m excited!  The new faces climbing to the top are smart, have great ideas, use and build technology like we’ve never seen…and it just keeps getting better and better.

As a hopeful for that potential promotion and a bid for more future jobs, here’s what you need to do.  BE PREPARED!  Aren’t you glad you have that expensive college education?  Understand that company’s are concerned about their financial outlook because they’re loosing that talent and experience.

Hang onto your hats and be hopeful.  But also be patient.  More and more baby boomers are hanging on to their jobs well past the age of 65.  Why?  They are “staying put” because their opportunities elsewhere might be diminishing as their youth diminishes.  And they stay in their positions longer in an effort to pad their retirement income.  You can thank the 2007 recession for that.  Some are just not ready to retire because they love working and still have tons of energy and experience.

Retirement age but still working

Not going anywhere…yet! I still have a lot of fresh attitude.


Us baby boomers, back in the day, (yep I said it)…we were “going to change the world”!  Well guess what, we’re going to change it again because as we stay in our jobs, you just might have to keep on waiting.  The Conference Board report entitled “U.S. Workers Delaying Retirement” states just that. Their report breaks down the movement by job categories.   They state that:

  • Government workers will probably still retire on time since they have access to their government pensions.
  • Workers with higher salaries who depend on keeping their lifestyle will probably stay working, and
  • Those in lower paying jobs that are labor intensive will probably retire on time because their jobs are more physically demanding.

So…if you want to secure a position without waiting another decade – you might want to consider government work, or a blue collar job.  Or job hop and hope for the best as you continue to build your resume.  Or start your own business, you tech savvy professional.  Get ahead of the game and control your own future.  That’s just my take on it.

Thinking about starting his own business

Think about striking out on your own


Let me go back to my light bulb moment.  I’m not trying to be negative here, just the opposite actually.  There is hope for the younger workforce as their hopes for climbing the corporate ladder continues to intrigue.  I’m just saying you might have to exercise a little baby boomer wisdom and learn patience.

You may not get that big raise you were hoping for, but rest assured…you’ll get there.  You will get your turn.  I promise.

Until next time,

Sheila Signature

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