The Generation Gap

Time to Push the Alarm? The Braindrain Threat from Boomer Engineer Retirement

If there were an even distribution of engineers across age groups, then retirement of an entire generation would take away about a third of your staff. However, the saddle shape of the age employment curve means that many engineering organizations are heavily front loaded with Boomer engineers. Furthermore, the far smaller group of Gen X engineers means that there’s not a one-to-one tenured replacement for every retiring Boomer.

Is the Age Profile of Engineering a Saddle?

Imagine if we mapped the number of engineers (y-axis) against their age (x-axis) for a particular engineering organization. What would the distribution curve look like? Well based on historical hiring demand and the relative sizes of different generations, we can project what it would look like. It resembles a saddle.

Setting a Baseline for Generational Definitions

What’s the dynamic like in your engineering group? Is everyone fresh out of college figuring out what it’s like in their first job? Or is everyone in the final leg of their career heading into retirement? All things considered, neither of those answers is likely. The average engineering group in today’s manufacturer is frequently a big mix of people in all different stages…