First Generation of the IT industry up for retirement?
Information technology, in the present day plays a considerable role, majorly changing the dynamics of various sectors like Education, Healthcare, Finance to name a few. IT alone is responsible for eliminating 100’s of jobs that existed in the 70’s & 80’s.
Gen X’ers (1965- 1980) were the first to significantly and formally contribute towards the development of the IT sector. They were the first to it. Now majority of those are due for retirement therefore becoming the first of IT generation to be going through this phase of life. Being the first to embrace technology, can they be the first to forget about it as well when they shut down their laptop’s?
Do people in the modern era believe in retirement?
Retirement in today’s world has become an obsolete term with most ‘retirees’ still preferring to work. This mainly is because the work in IT does not involve heavy physical labour which would otherwise be difficult with increasing age. Retirement, is taken as an opportunity to take up new challenges and seek new career paths.
IT professions, more often than not, choose an alternative career path which are a complete deviation from their previous field of work. A study conducted by the American Institute for Economic Research showed that 82% of survey participants stated to have made a positive transition to a new career after the age of 45.
The reason for doing this could be plenty. Few of them being, learning something new, following a passion, need for a change of pace or even reducing stress. A survey conducted by Retired Brains, states that above 86% of working professionals plan on continuing to work after retirement. They mostly do this to combine their existing skill set with a lifelong dream.
Many of them also take this as an entrepreneurial opportunity to start businesses of their own as a continuing passion and as a means of supporting themselves. Statistics from Kauffman foundation states that Americans in the age group of 55-64 rank the highest in entrepreneurship.
Examples of this are aplenty. In Empeal team Aurobinda De (CTO) is an example himself. Working for 28 years in IT management in large corporates, he decided to throw in the towel and start a e-health company. At the age of 52. He wrote about his experience here. Obviously, earlier experience and knowledge of the industry helps, but it’s an individual’s own drive that makes it happen. It’s the drive for the second career. This is the new definition of ‘Retirement’.
It comes at a cost:
There are two sides to every coin.
Most IT professionals are prone to developing chronic conditions due to perpetual stress at work coupled with the sedentary nature of it. Few common health problems amongst these professionals include asthma, diabetes, fatigue, hypertension, insomnia, IBS, psychoneurosis etc.
As the age old saying suggests ‘prevention is better than cure’, Gen X’ers, who plan on not ending their career at retirement, should pay higher attention towards health and wellbeing at earlier stages. If one’s going for 2 careers they need to be twice as fit to be able to achieve it – health is wealth after all.
Emphasis on functional-medicine and mindfulness will be more important in regular life rather than traditional medication. The former, gives a better lasting improvement whereas, the latter, merely provides cures for the moment. Both, effect and side-effect will need consideration. IT professionals need information to believe and follow anything. Mere yoga class or pilates session will not be sufficient for these people – they need data, they need information, they need analysis to show it’s doing what it’s meant to do.
Today’s employers need to be ready to see their young IT-Professionals going for the 2nd career. They need to build their IT employees for their “retirement”. However, what is questionable in today’s dynamic world is, whether business organizations will go an extra mile to take care of their employee’s wellbeing and health? The risk of not doing it is to lose out on talent and the market they operate in!