A new report predicts seismic shifts are coming in the Garden State as Baby Boomers begin to retire from the workforce and Generation X prepares to take the reins of power.

“New Jersey is really going through the greatest age structure transformation in its population history,”  Rutgers University economist James Hughes, said.

He said as the Boomer generation, born 1946 to 1964, ages out of the workforce, a significant void is being left.

He said it's "a loss of institutional memory, of skills, and savvy built up over a lifetime.”

“When you’re losing someone who’s been in leadership for 20 years or so — there’s always some concern about 'is there enough experience' about the new people taking over," he said.

So who is taking over?

Hughes said the group once known as the “Baby Bust” generation is Gen X, born between 1965 and 1980.

“They are the ones that are now poised to assume the leaderships being vacated by the Baby Boom. It’s their time," Hughes said.

Hughes said Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) are probably still a decade or so off from moving into the positions of corporate leaders.

He said it remains to be seen “how different Gen X is from the Baby Boom in terms of its belief. (With) Millennials there was a significant difference with technology, but Gen X is a wait-and-see proposition.”

The report says Millennials will remain the prized labor force for corporate New Jersey, and will continue to shape local decision-making.

Soon, however, they will be joined in the workforce by the even more technologically sophisticated Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2012.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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