The results of a recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and AARP should give pause to employers turning a blind eye to the potential skills shortage arising within the next several years as Boomers cease putting off retirement and leave the workforce. The survey found that 72 percent of human resource professionals describe the talent loss brought about by the retirement of older workers as either a “problem” or a “potential problem.” But many companies aren’t preparing for the transition from an experienced workforce to one which is younger and less mature.
The survey revealed that 45 percent of companies are preparing for the talent loss by increasing training and cross-training while 38 percent are developing a plan of succession. Nearly one-third of employers reported to having hired already retired employees as consultants or even temporary workers to fill-in while younger workers are trained. Nearly a quarter of companies are attempting to keep Boomers on in a part-time capacity; 27 percent say they offer flexible work arrangements and 24 percent say they have designed part-time positions specifically to attract retired workers.
When asked to identify the greatest skills gap between workers aged 31 and younger as compared to those aged 50 and older, 51 percent of polled HR professionals said that older workers have stronger writing, grammar and spelling skills while 52 percent reported that older workers have a stronger work ethic and demonstrate a higher degree of professionalism.
Only 29 percent of polled companies has conducted a strategic workforce planning assessment to determine the impact their organizations will undergo in the wake of a wave of retirements.