Earlier this week, we blogged about the increasing number of Baby Boomers electing to transition to contingent work. We continue that series by examining Baby Boomers who have achieved career positions of Vice President or above. Numerous studies indicate that the average age of a CEO of a U.S. company is 55, and the average age of the CFO, CIO, and other members of the Executive team is 52. In other words, Baby Boomers. What does retirement look like for this group of high achievers?
Retirement = Interim Work
Increasingly, these individuals don’t leave the job market. Instead, they take on contingent assignments in which they offer expertise on demand. Contingent work offers a viable platform for executives nearing the end of their careers who crave flexibility but want to stay in the game.
Baby Boomer executives are particularly well suited to contingent engagements as they are not affected by the factors that serve as a hindrance to younger workers. They have access to healthcare options not available to younger workers. Career advancement and professional development are of secondary concern, as their professional skills are already at a high level, and they have already achieved a considerable amount of success. Many are financially secure, able to manage through periods between assignments.
In fact, many former big-company executives who transitioned to interim work indicate a high level of satisfaction. A study conducted earlier this year by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that 85% of independent contractors “appeared content with their employment type” while 57% of independent contractors were “very satisfied” with their jobs, exceeding the rate of those who held standard full-time employment (45%).
Baby Boomers see interim engagements as a way to pursue their own stream of interesting projects while eliminating the dissatisfying elements of their former roles. Administrative chores, long hours, and incessant office politics that are a part of big-firm jobs are virtually absent.
Companies tap into their expertise to restructure departments, prepare companies for an IPO or merger, manage a joint venture, or explore new business opportunities. Increasingly, companies recognize the value these individuals bring in terms of increasing the level of innovation within a business. These temp consultants can quickly test a new business idea without disrupting normal business operations or overtaxing internal resources. Because they are not part of the permanent workforce, they bring fresh ideas, objective assessments, and singular focus on the project at hand. They apply their expertise as coaches and facilitators, delegating work and building internal capabilities.
If your company is not tapping into this source of high demand talent, consider why not. Are you holding onto old beliefs that “if he was any good he would have a permanent job”? With the growth in the use of interim executives, Intermediary firms have emerged to place executives in contingent assignments. Candidates are fully screened, references are checked, and background checks are conducted. They can remove the need for the interim consultant to find their next assignment while eliminating any fears regarding independent consultant misclassification.
The rise in high-end temp work offers new opportunities for business growth for you and baby boomer executives. Let us know if you have incorporated this source of talent into your overall workforce plans.
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