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Baby Boomers and The Rise of the Grudge Workforce

Baby Boomers and The Rise of the Grudge Workforce

By Susan Williams

Here’s a new term for you – the grudge workforce.

Have you heard of it before?

I discovered it when I happened to run across a research report published by Suncorp in Australia. They coined the phrase grudge workforce in reference to the time gap for baby boomers from when they wanted to retire versus when they could actually retire.

What they had discovered in their research was “The average age of entering an ideal retirement is 65, while the reality is almost half won’t be able to retire until they are in their 70s and beyond.” largely due to financial needs.

When you think about it, the term grudge workforce is quite reflective of the situation.

Baby boomers who find themselves having to work because they have to rather then having the ability to retire and leave their job when they would like to may feel resentful, bitter or dissatisfied – all the words that would define having a grudge.

And this problem is not just isolated to Australia. In North America, we are facing the same situation.

In a report published by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies – they found that sixty six percent of baby boomers are or are currently planning on working past the age of 65 and that many of them are planning on doing this due to financial needs and requirements for benefits.

The even bigger challenge for these “grudge years” is that many of the people that need to work past retirement are often in physically demanding positions which makes the work as you get older even that much more difficult.

So what can we do to try and minimize this situation and make working environments less dreary and more accepting of the situation that many baby boomers may find themselves in?

Here are a couple of ideas;

Part Time Work

Many baby boomers would like to work part time in retirement however the availability of these positions don’t match the demand. Job sharing, part time work could all be options to help someone stay in the workforce without the same level of full time demand.

Also Read: When It Comes To Working – Let’s Get Flexible


If people are going to have to work potentially another five to ten years more then what they wanted, maybe doing something different would help to improve their working attitude. Having the ability to retrain for another role or being given different responsibilities may make the work more interesting.

Modify work requirements

If someone is in a very physically demanding role, it would be good for employers to see if they can modify the work in some way to allow for someone to stay working longer without fear of injury. As well if different responsibilities could be assigned, this could also potentially make the work a little more interesting and keep the person more engaged in the workplace.

Safe working environment

A safe working environment is important for everyone. However the risk for injury may increase with age. Ergonomics, climate, lighting, noise, repetitive actions are just examples that could cause issues for an older workforce.

The first thing to do to fix any problem is to recognize that there actually is a problem.

Maybe by facing the fact that some people may need to work when they would rather be retired or doing something else would help us to realize some things need to change. By possibly making some improvements, we could shift the risk for baby boomers to be labelled as the grudge workforce to being recognized as a highly valued and engaged workforce.

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.