For most of us, understanding how to develop and promote superior benefits packages for today’s age-diverse work force is a bit like talking on the phone, texting on our Blackberries, and checking e-mail on our laptops – all at the same time. In other words, it’s complicated, requires concentration, and demands that we keep track of our various and simultaneous audiences, lest we send a text to our client that should have gone by e-mail to our colleague. The fact is, employers today, along with their HR managers, must navigate a complicated work place that is, for the first time in American history, comprised of four generations of workers. To help them meet the multigenerational challenge, we must become experts at multi-tasking, developing a deep understanding of the needs and desires of both younger and older employees, and assembling flexible benefits packages that target multiple goals at once.

By now, the story of our increasingly age-diverse work force has become clear. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the older labor force is projected to grow more than five times faster than the overall labor force by 2016. By 2014, nearly a third of the work force will be age 50 or older. In fact, by 2011, baby boomers – or those born between 1946 and 1964 – will make up almost 40 percent of the country’s work force. At the same time, almost seven million members of the “Traditionalists” or World War II generation – born before 1945 – will still be at work. Generation X-ers, born between 1965 and 1980, will comprise 32 percent of the work force by 2014, and members of Generation Y (or the Millennial Generation), born between 1980 and 2000, will make up approximately 25 percent.

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