From Crain’s Detroit:
As highlighted by the excellent article “Robots” in the Aug. 28 issue of Crain’s Detroit Business, automation is indeed ending whole categories of jobs at a much faster rate than ever. But there’s an additional, largely ignored threat to job security nationwide: 2.34 million private businesses in the U.S. are owned by baby boomers, most of whom will retire in the next 10 to 20 years.
Together these baby-boomer-owned businesses employ 24.7 million workers, and 70 to 80 percent of these business owners have no succession plan.
Recent research by our organization quantifies for the first time the threat that this looming Silver Tsunami poses for the seven counties of Southeast Michigan: an astounding 400,000 jobs are at risk.
Many times, the children of retiring business owners aren’t interested in taking over the family business, forcing the owner to choose between liquidating the business assets or selling it to a competitor — a competitor that may only be interested in obtaining the business’ customer list or consolidating operations out of state. In both cases, local jobs are lost.
Across the U.S., cities and economic planners are taking renewed interest in a third way forward: employee ownership. New York, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Madison and Austin have each recently adopted policies supportive of employee-owned businesses, steps that can facilitate the sale of a business by its owner to its employees.