I am not one for conspiracy theories, but what if the Boomers are just biding their time for a big moment when they decide to exit the workforce en masse?
What if that big moment was November 5, 2008?
Much has been made of the mass exodus of Boomers as many of them reach retirement age between now and 2015.
Surveys conducted by AARP, Merrill Lynch, and Harvard/MetLife revealed that most Boomers will not stop working completely. In fact, more than 60% said that they intend to cycle between periods of work and leisure. Two out of three respondents said they would NEVER retire. These survey results suggest that we should be cautious in making too many predictions about their career plans.
The impact of this impending departure could be even more profound in the Federal sphere where more than half of the workforce could collect their final full-time paycheck within the next 7 years. These estimates include roughly 90% of Federal executives.
But what makes this phenomenon even more intriguing for the public sector is the presidential election cycle. An article in Government Executive in May 2008 alluded to the idea that Boomers may use this moment as a good excuse to retire. Their primary reason may not be political, but practical: if you were a senior civil servant – not an appointee – would you want to weather the transition from one administration’s policies and procedures to another, especially if you had "been there, done that" several times before?
In other words, could the presidential election be a major catalyst for the much-anticipated, widespread wave of retirements from the Federal government? Are Boomers in your agencies suggesting such a change or submitting their resignations already?
Maybe we’ll have to wait until November to find out.