Baby boomers are those born between 1945 to 1964, the boom of the US population. Data from the Department of Labor BLS, in 1998 indicate that there were 77 million baby boomers and this represented 37% of the country’s population. As of 2008, baby boomers make up 40% of US workforce. This percentage is expected to increase dramatically in the next decade and baby boomers will make up majority of the employees in many companies. (Department of Labor, 2008)
Companies are now at a dilemma on the effects of this population boom of older workers. Human Resource Departments are torn between decisions to retain or terminate their services. At one hand, older workers have the experiences and technical expertise; many are valued employees. Retiring or terminating them may mean significant loss to many companies. On the other hand, many older employees have not kept pace with modern technologies; their skills have become obsolete.
Older employees also are more expensive considering higher salary rates, pension and other benefits. An article from ABC by John Strossel and Frank Mastropolo, “Fired for Being Too Old: Unfair or Good for Business? ” (2008) presented various age discrimination cases filed against companies. Like many, disc jockeys of 99. 7 KY Max Floyd and Tanna Guthrie were fired from work and without any warning. Though they were told that the company was changing formats, they knew that they were fired for being too old and they felt hurt and betrayed. Why couldn’t they keep us? We’ve been there, been loyal with the company, and they didn’t change the music a lot” (Strossel & Mastropolo, 2008, p. 1). They sought protection of the law for age discrimination and filed million-dollar lawsuit against the company. Sympathy may be given to baby boomers that end up being replaced with young, fresh talents. But in the competitive industry, businesses have to survive and be able to replace their aging employees when needed.
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