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Baby boomer scientists/engineers about to retire in huge numbers?

by TomServo
Tags: baby, boomer, numbers, retire
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Feb17-13, 08:27 PM
P: 450
The baby boomers wont live forever nor will they work forever I dont understand the skepticism over a coming influx of retiring baby boomers.

I could see the skepticism over the opportunities it will open up.
Feb17-13, 11:06 PM
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P: 2,744
A problem that comes up on these and other forums with respect to employment of the graduate training ratio.

Consider that a professor will on average train roughly ten PhD students over his or her academic career. (I don't know if ten is actually correct - it's just a common guess that seems reasonable.) Of those ten one will eventually replace the professor. A fraction of another will account for growth. Even if you assume a 100% growth rate over a professor's typical career this leaves us with eight leftover PhD graduates. What happens to them?

The "boomer retirement" proposition, in light of this question, does not appear to lead to any deficiencies of academic bodies. I suspect that the idea commonly arises more out of wishful thinking than from actual data.
Feb17-13, 11:15 PM
P: 661
Did anyone notice the OP SN vs the follow up SN? TomServo vs TomServo2
Feb18-13, 06:15 AM
P: 11
Holy cow, you're right. I'm on a different browser now. One of the browsers has my original account password saved and on my phone I couldn't remember exactly what my sn and password was and I think I either made up a new account or resurrected a defunct one.
Feb18-13, 06:17 AM
P: 180
Ta da! Thanks for pointing that out.
Feb18-13, 06:39 AM
P: 3,097
Quote Quote by TomServo View Post
Ta da! Thanks for pointing that out.
I have that same problem on linked in, two acct created years apart because I couldn't remember the email I used and I switched companies too/ Now Im friends with myself kind of like a cyber wormhole
Feb18-13, 08:17 AM
P: 661
Quote Quote by jedishrfu View Post
Now Im friends with myself kind of like a cyber wormhole
Feb18-13, 10:30 AM
P: 180
Choppy's analysis makes sense to me, provided the total number of positions, filled and unfilled, stays flat. That goes for countries that are already at the saturation point for professors.
Feb18-13, 10:44 AM
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P: 7,284
I'm not very convinced by one of the statistics in that link.
13% of employees may retire in the next 5 years
If the average working life is 40 years (say 25 to 65 for university educated employees), in a steady state situation you would expect 1 in 40 or 2.5% to retire per year. that makes 12.5% in 5 years. So what's the big deal about 13%?
Feb18-13, 12:21 PM
P: 3,097
You could use Prof John Wheeler's list of grad students as to how many a great teacher can produce over his career:

Wiki shows 26 students with a career from 1933 to ~1986 (when he retired from teaching).

Basically one student every two years.
Feb18-13, 01:45 PM
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P: 7,336
I am not a prof, but I am a boomer who would really like to retire. I was laid off from HP 1yr shy of eligibility for retirement. My 401k is way shy of the amount I need to retire, so I am now working in a job at a fraction of my former income. I sure would like to retire, but it is looking more and more like the WTD plan is the one that applies to me..

Sorry youngsters, you will just have to wait your turn, meanwhile do what you can to pick up industry valued skills. ... ie have something to sell to your future employers.

WTD..... work till you die.
Feb18-13, 03:25 PM
P: 1,100
I think that retirement is really a luxury for the rich. For "regular" people, work till you die is standard fare. I wont even have my student loans paid off when I die. Any idea of retirement is just a joke.
Feb18-13, 04:01 PM
P: 180
Not to mention the nightmare we'll be in if, as demographers predict, we have such a disproportionately large number of non-working elderly and a low birthrate that the economy literally collapses. Science funding will take a back seat to food scrounging for sure.
Feb18-13, 04:07 PM
P: 1,100
Thats why we need more immigrants... To keep the ponzi scheme going. At least keep it going until I die. ;)
Feb18-13, 06:08 PM
P: 180
Agreed, bring on the 'grants, skilled and unskilled. Anybody who wants to contribute to our economy should be allowed in, not treated like a leper.
Feb18-13, 06:11 PM
P: 180
And "ModusPwned" made my laugh.
Feb18-13, 06:14 PM
P: 521
Quote Quote by StatGuy2000 View Post
If it is the HR department and their narrow view of what a job is and what a person needs to know that is limiting a firm's ability to hire needed employees, then shouldn't it make sense for such firms to "shake up" their HR departments to ensure that needed positions are filled?
Yeah, they'll probably do it when they figure out how not to get hit with ageist preferences. Honestly, I don't envy the HR people in large companies who have to hire someone to do something that they don't understand, but do so under a torrent of laws that most people would rather not know. This is a no-win situation, and it was very likely an unintended consequence of existing laws.

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