1. A Major Workforce Shift
Perhaps the most direct effect manufacturers will feel is boomers increasingly leaving the workforce to settle into retirement. 31% of the U.S. workforce is made up by baby boomers, and as they retire, many industries are anticipating a moderate to significant labor and skills gap, especially in leadership positions. This includes those companies in the manufacturing sector that have already had a hard time finding younger workers with STEM skills. Some are hoping that automation and other forms of technology will help lighten the impact of a growing skills gap, but it’s likely to remain an issue for many industrial companies.
2. Startups From Seniors
While many boomers will be leaving the workforce in the traditional sense and will be eager to settle into a life of leisure and family time, others will live the dream of being their own boss and building a business that aligns with their passions. They may even develop technology and offer innovation that impacts the manufacturing sector. Startups are commonly associated with the young and the tech savvy, but that is not a prerequisite. Plenty of folks in their 50s and 60s are defying stereotypes, taking their education and work experience, and finding new success as entrepreneurs and in startups.
3. Demand For Smaller, Smarter Home Products
For appliance and home equipment manufacturers, demand for products is going to start leaning toward the tech side. As boomers retire and remain a tech-savvy part of the population, their love for smart products isn’t gong to go away with their working hours. Instead, retired boomers will want more ways to stay in touch, stay entertained, and save money with more efficient products. This will also scale out to include appliances and products incorporated into the modern smart-home. As some boomers downsize their homes, we’re likely to see a compact appliance trend as well.
4. Innovations Will Be An International Demand
The U.S. isn’t the only nation with a growing community of retirees and seniors that will be in need of specific products. Canada, Japan, and many European countries actually have greater populations of older individuals. Those engineers who develop products that assist with mobility, home assistance, communication, and wellbeing, could benefit from a lot of international business, as well as growing market demographic here in the U.S.
5. Redefining A Retirement Home
Based on an emerging trend, we may see less need for larger senior facilities and more seniors living together in family sized homes and cohousing communities. Retirement homes are taking on a whole new meaning as groups of friends and family are now making their own living arrangements in private residences. Rather than rely on professionally run facilities, groups of seniors are sharing tasks and helping to care for one another. Builders and architects could see more demand for residential based building projects rather than larger scale, commercially built living facilities.