• Those who can afford to do so are likely to retire early. They will spend much of their time traveling, eating out, and otherwise enjoying life. They will be a prime source of business for high-end hotels, resorts, and cruise lines.
• Those who are not quite so well-to-do but still can retire on time also will travel regularly but are likely to economize on accommodations, generally taking a trip to Orlando, rather than Paris, or a relatively brief Caribbean cruise, rather than a round-the-world trip.
• There will be many as well who really cannot afford to retire completely. These 0lder workers will partially make up for any future shortages of entry-level employees. The chance to remain in the workplace will reduce the risk of poverty for many elderly people who otherwise would have had to depend on Social Security to get by.
27. Second and third careers are becoming common, as more people make mid-life changes in occupation.
Americans born at the tail end of the Baby Boom (1956 to 1964) held an average of ten jobs between ages 18 and 38, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These job jumpers continue with short-duration jobs even as they approach middle age: 70 percent of the jobs they took between ages 33 and 39 ended within five years. In the United States, 23 percent of workers surveyed in 2004 reported being dissatisfied with their careers and considering a change of occupation. Seventy percent of Irish workers surveyed in 2004 also said they hoped to make a career change soon. Women and the 26-to-35 age group were most likely to report the desire to change careers. "Personal fulfillment" was the biggest reason cited for making the change.
Assessment: This trend will not disappear unless the pace of technological change slows dramatically—or we reach the so-called “singularity,” when man’s inventions grow so intelligent themselves that they entirely displace human beings from the workforce.
Implications: Boomers and their children will have not just two or three careers, but five or six, as dying industries are replaced by new opportunities.
“Earn while you learn” takes on new meaning: Most people will have to study for their next occupation, even as they pursue their current career.
In many two-earner couples, one member or the other will often take a sabbatical to prepare for a new career.
Self-employment is becoming an increasingly attractive option, as being your own boss makes it easier to set aside time for career development. This is especially true for Generation Xers and Millennials. Growing numbers of retirees will start their own businesses, both to keep occupied and to supplement their meager savings with new income. This trend has already begun. Retirement plans must be revised so that workers can transfer medical and pension benefits from one career to the next—a change that has long been needed. We believe this will occur soon after the Baby Boom generation begins to retire in 2011.
Implications for hospitality and travel: These industries have obvious appeal for mid-life career changers. These first-time entrepreneurs start a substantial fraction of new one-off restaurants, travel destinations, bed-and-breakfasts, and business services. They will continue to be a source of creativity for hospitality and travel.
28. The work ethic is vanishing.
More than one-third of U.S. workers reported calling in sick when they were not ill at least once in the past 12 months, and 10 percent had done so at least three times, according to a 2004 survey by CareerBuilder.com. Job security and high pay are not the motivators they once were, because social mobility is high and people seek job fulfillment. Some 48 percent of those responding in a recent Louis Harris poll said they work because it “gives a feeling of real accomplishment.” Fifty-five percent of the top executives interviewed in the poll say that erosion of the work ethic will have a major negative effect on corporate performance in the future.
Assessment: There is little prospect that this will change until the children of today’s young adults grow up to rebel against their parents’ values.
Implications: Both employers and voters must do their best to find candidates who can be trusted, but must expect to fail in their search. This makes safeguards against wrongdoing, both at work and in public lives, more important than ever.
The new generation of workers cannot simply be hired and ignored. They must be nurtured, paid well, and made to feel appreciated or they will quickly look for a friendlier, more rewarding workplace.
Training is crucial. Without the opportunity to learn new skills, young people will quickly find a job that can help them prepare for the rest of their many careers.
Implications for hospitality and travel: This trend will make it more difficult to ensure a high level of customer service in all industries. Since this is the core of hospitality and travel, they are likely to be hit harder than others by any decline in their employees’ diligence.
29. Labor unions are losing their power to secure rights for workers and to shape public policy in regard to workplace issues.
Union membership has been falling for the past two decades. In the United States, some 20 percent of workers were union members in 1983. In 2006, just 12.0 percent of employed wage and salary workers were union members, down from 12.5 percent a year earlier. In Britain, where the Thatcher government broke union power in the 1980s, union membership has declined almost continuously, to 28.4 percent in December 2006. In South Korea, where organized labor once was invincible, no more than 11 percent of workers are union members. One reason for this decline is that companies are freely seeking and finding nonunionized workers around the world. They also contract out a growing proportion of business activities to nonunion firms.
Assessment: In spite of determined, and occasionally successful, recruiting efforts in formerly non-union industries, union memberships and power will continue to decline for the next 15 years—until organized labor is little more than a fringe phenomenon. The trend will be reversed only if Washington and other national governments rescind pro-business labor laws and policies enacted in the last 20-plus years.
Implications: For large companies, this trend promises continued stability in employee wages and benefits.
Unions eager to regain their membership will target any substantial industry or firm with less-skilled employees to organize. This could raise labor costs for companies that unions once would have considered too small to organize.
In ten to 15 years, American labor unions will compete with AARP to lead the battle for the rights of late-life workers and for secure retirement benefits. They face an inherent conflict between the interests of workers in what once would have been the retirement years and those of younger members, who rightly see the elderly as having saddled them with the cost of whatever benefits older generations enjoy. Unions’ political strength is also diminishing and is increasingly being surpassed by powerful blocs such as AARP, Hispanics, and African Americans. The old paradigm of unions vs. corporations is obsolete. In today’s economy, workers negotiate alongside management, winning shared bonuses.
Implications for hospitality and travel: Nonunion segments of these industries represent an appealing “market” for union organizers desperate to shore up their memberships. Any major company in hospitality and travel can expect unions to focus on workers who have yet to be organized.