A lot of attention is being paid to the younger generations in the workforce today as they begin their careers and move up the management ranks. But don’t let that obscure the fact that baby boomers still occupy a spot near the centre of many companies’ radar.
The simple reason is that their skills are in demand. We are in a specialised economy, but specialists and specialist consultants are tough to find. Robert Half’s surveys of top executives across multiple fields continue to show that the demand for professionals with niche skills — including those tied to mobile, cloud computing, cybersecurity, big data, and financial regulation and compliance, among others — outweighs the supply of available workers.
Employers are looking for professionals with a track record of proven success to lead complex initiatives. They value the insight and knowledge experienced talent can bring to the organization. And as newer generations of workers are hired, firms seek individuals who can help these promising workers develop into future leaders.
Remaining professionally engaged
Baby boomers are taking advantage of the opportunity. Many professionals from this generation have already decided to keep working past the traditional retirement age, for financial reasons or personal fulfillment, or both.
The strong jobs reports we’ve seen may also have baby boomers who have retired thinking that now is a good time to re-enter the employment market. In addition, recent stock market volatility has been a reminder to some that anything can happen and that professional flexibility is an asset.
Experienced professionals at or near retirement age who want to keep one foot in the workforce have many options. One to consider is a career in consulting.
The benefits of a career in consulting
It’s a great time to become a consultant. Since the recession, more employers are relying on flexible staffing strategies — including the use of independent consultants — to meet growing business demands while avoiding over hiring. Through this approach, businesses can bring in the resources they need exactly when they need them, and for just as long as those skills are required.
Companies look to consultants to provide specialised expertise for specific projects or business initiatives, which can last weeks, months or even longer in some cases. The work is typically challenging and diverse.
Depending on your skills and experience, you might be called on to assist with a merger or acquisition, implement a new software or business system, lead a major marketing or ad campaign, or help guide litigation or eDiscovery work.
How do you know if a career in consultancy would be the right move for you? Consider some of the benefits of these arrangements:
- Flexible work schedule — You can choose projects that suit your lifestyle, enabling you to maintain the right work-life balance as you transition into retirement at your own pace.
- High earning potential — Depending on your skill set and how often you choose to work, you could actually make more money as a consultant than you did in a full-time position.
- Focus on the skills you enjoy most — You may utilise only a portion of your total skill set in a consulting role, but you can ensure it’s the portion you’re passionate about and enjoy the most.
- A thriving network — The dust won’t settle on your list of business contacts. You’ll meet many new people and continue expanding your network.
Something else to think about: Consulting can provide an inroad to a particular company or business sector that you have always wanted to work for or in, but were unable to explore when you were focused on your full-time career. You can find more information on the different types of consulting jobs here.
Careers in consulting are all about flexibility. It can give baby boomers more power to choose how and when they want to retire. Before starting a second or an “encore” career in this field, consider speaking with a staffing firm that specialises in placing skilled consultants, or a career coach, to discuss what types of positions would be best suited to your unique abilities.