Welcome back to our series of blogs from our Future Consumer Report, where we aim to unpack the traits, behaviours and mindsets of our current generations and understand where they might head in the future.
We believe that generational analysis isn’t a passing fad or a generalisation of a cohort of people, but an embedding of one’s psyche and worldview when people of various ages are living through the same political, technological or social shifts.
The Baby Boomers: Living longer and working harder
When Australia’s Age Pension was introduced in 1909, life expectancy at birth was 57. Today it exceeds 80, averaged across males and females. Astonishingly, Australians have gained 25 years of life expectancy in the last 100 years. This equates to three months of life for every 12 months of time! So, what have they been doing with that extra time? A manner of productive things. Aussies over 65 have been active in the workforce longer, with Australians aged 65 and over having a workforce participation rate of 13% today, compared to 8% in 2006.
While Generation X now hold the keys to the throne with the Hon. Scott Morrison (born 1968) marking the first Gen X Prime Minister, the Baby Boomers are still an important generation to understand and engage with. The Baby Boomers are currently more active in the workforce for their age than those before them, and over the next decade we will see a significant changing of the guard as the youngest of the Baby Boomers sail past 65 and ease out of the workforce. When they do, they will leave a very significant knowledge, labour and leadership gap for the following generations to take up.
But that doesn’t mean a quiet retirement. The reality is that Baby Boomers are living longer, more active in the workplace and are staying actively involved with their children and grandchildren than any previous generation. Boomers will continue to be the most accommodating, supportive and financially endowing of their children’s generation which leads to a hive of activity in ten years.
65 is the new 50
Today’s Baby Boomers are the ultimate ‘downagers’, redefining life stages, and reinventing retirement. They are buying and selling property later in life and remaining active in the workforce later than ever before. This is a response to the improved life and health realities.
While Baby Boomers may not be early adopters in the smart phone age, they show no indication that they are laggards either. They have adapted to more technology in their lifetime, been resilient across more economic and social cycles (and still counting) and have responded to more change than any prior generation.
Active across social media, savvy in ecommerce and confident in researching online, Baby Boomers will continue to integrate technology into their lifestyle.