7 in 10 firms concerned about boomer retirement: SHRM

Increased skills training, succession planning among preparations
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 04/11/2012

More than seven in 10 (72 per cent) human resource professionals in the United States are concerned about the retirement of baby boomers from their organization, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and AARP.

The 430 HR managers surveyed said that the actions their organizations have taken to prepare for the loss of talented older workers who retire include:

•increased training and cross-training (45 per cent)
•developed succession planning (38 per cent)
•hired retired employees as consultants or temporary workers (30 per cent)
•offered flexible work arrangements (27 per cent)
•designed part-time positions to attract older workers (24 per cent).

The poll also asked human resource professionals to identify the greatest basic skills and applied skills gaps between workers age 31 and younger compared with workers age 50 and older.

Basic skills: More than one-half (51 per cent) said they find older workers to have stronger writing, grammar and spelling skills in English.

Applied skills: More than one-half (52 per cent) said older workers exhibit stronger professionalism and work ethic.

Many U.S. organizations are largely unprepared for the brain drain and skills void that talented, retiring older workers will leave, said SHRM. Roughly 71 per cent of those polled still have not conducted a strategic workforce planning assessment to analyze the impact of workers 50 and older who will leave their organizations.

“Although we are encouraged to see that many organizations across the country are preparing for the challenge of baby boomer retirements, much more work needs to be done in both the short and long term,” said SHRM president and CEO, Hank Jackson.

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