We have already seen the demand for talent in the energy industry rise due to the quick growth our industry is experiencing. The trickle of Baby Boomers retiring has started, and it is predicted that the trickle will turn to a mass exodus in as little as 5 years from now. How will the American Workforce change as Gen Xers take the place of many retiring Baby Boomers in leadership roles, and Millennials take a larger share of employment landscape than ever before by accounting for 50% of the workforce?

James O’Brian’s recent article on Mashable, 5 Ways the Workforce Will Change in 5 Years, seems to shine some much needed light on what we can expect to see in the coming years:



Five years isn’t a long way away, but human-resources experts predict significant changes with-in the workforce over the next half-decade. A sizable shift is coming as millennials take their seats at businesses large and small, and Baby Boomers simultaneously either retire or modify their work styles to reflect increasingly flexible and mobile opportunities.

Given what’s in play, what will the workforce look like in 2019?

To get some answers, we spoke to analysts from different business and staffing sectors. With their expertise, a picture of what business leaders — and employees — can expect from their professional landscape emerged. Here are five key points from that conversation.

1. Freelance employees will approach the 50% mark

The freelancer is on the rise, and if you ask proponents of the “contingent” (freelance) economy, they expect that by 2020 some 40% of the workforce will soon be made up of contract-only employees. “This is in part because millennials don’t want to stay in one job forever, but also in part because companies prefer to try out employees before committing to them,” says Stephen Robert Morse, co-founder of SkillBridge, via email. “These changes will affect the white-collar economy, just as they have already disrupted the blue-collar economy (e.g. Uber).”

2. Flex-work becomes a new normal

We already live in a largely work-anywhere world, thanks to the cloud and mobile tech, but shifting employee demographics will drive further alterations to the way we think about clocking in. “By 2016, 63 million Americans will be working in a virtual or flexible role, up sharply from 2010’s 34 million,” says Ellen Grealish, co-founder of FlexProfessionals. Business leaders can expect millennials to account for some 50% of that workforce by 2020, but she also sees a growing incidence of Boomers who are close to retirement but who keep on working to some extent — often from offsite. “The demand and creation of flexible-work options will continue to rise over the next five years,” Grealish says.

3. Career ‘impatience’ a driving factor

A recent Georgetown University study showed that millennials already switch jobs some 6.3 times between ages 18 and 25. Only 1 in 10, according to the report, considers their current job to be part of their career. “In other words, companies are not prepared for the millennial generation’s impatience,” says Pamela Stambaugh, founder and president of Accountability Pays. Throughout the next five years, employers can expect to see talent land, learn, lift off, and then move on with greater frequency than that of their Generation X and Baby Boomer predecessors.

4. The new workforce works small

Recent monthly employment numbers from ADP show that approximately 65% of all new non-farm jobs created are coming from small and medium-sized businesses. Especially hungry for new talent: High-growth small shops within the technology, health care and social-media marketing sectors, says Robert J. LaBombard, CEO of GradStaff. However, some of this SMB job creation is due to Baby Boomers who are retiring from their posts at older companies — a phenomenon expected to continue for up to 15 years.

5. Gen X may have its day

As Boomers step aside, or decrease their engagement with the companies at which they remain in a part-time or flexible capacity, the 34- to 49-year-old set stands to reap new opportunities. Their experience relative to millennials should prove an advantage. “However, as a smaller demographic group, there will be a shortage of qualified workers in this age bracket, so companies hiring will have to hire more at the entry-level to compensate for the loss of Baby Boomers to retirement,” says LaBombard.

These five factors that employers and employees need to heed in the coming 60 months each deeply relate to one generation aging out of career-building efforts and another phasing into their own. But what can companies do to prepare for these changes? Strategies lie in responding to the cultural and technological elements of the predicted shifts.



SCR is an international organization focused on connecting our clients with the most sought after energy industry professionals and we want to help you prepare for the predicted changes to the employment landscape. Check out our recent article, Three Steps to Leveraging Your Workforce, for tips that can help you develop your workforce and prepare for the changes coming over the next five years. Or, Contact us today to learn how we can help your firm hire top talent in the petrochemical, LNG, oil and gas, power, renewable energy, and related process industries.



Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)