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Avoiding the Baby-Boom bust
May 12, 2005
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MENLO PARK, Calif. -- As the number of workers nearing retirement grows, companies have begun bracing for their departure, a new survey suggests. A majority (55 percent) of executives polled recently said their companies are concerned about losing key staff to retirement in the next five to 10 years. An even greater percentage, 78 percent, said their firms are taking steps to compensate for the loss of baby-boom-age employees.

The survey was developed by Robert Half International Inc., the world’s first and largest staffing service specializing in accounting, finance and information technology. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 150 executives with the nation’s 1,000 largest companies.

Executives were asked, "How concerned is your company about losing key workers to retirement in the next five to 10 years?" Their responses:

  • Very concerned 15 percent
  • Somewhat concerned 40 percent
  • Not very concerned 34 percent
  • Not at all concerned 11 percent

Respondents were also asked, "What steps, if any, is your firm taking to compensate for the loss of baby-boom-age workers to retirement?" Of the 78 percent of executives who said their organizations are taking steps in this area, their responses included*:

  • Implementing/enhancing succession-planning programs 59 percent
  • Providing employees training/professional development 53 percent
  • Increasing employee recruiting and retention efforts 45 percent
  • Implementing or enhancing mentoring programs 35 percent
  • Inviting retirees/future retirees to be consultants/trainers 25 percent
  • Increasing compensation and bonuses 15 percent (*Multiple answers were permitted.)

"Coming demographic shifts point to changes in the makeup of the U.S. workforce,” says Max Messmer, Chairman and CEO of Robert Half International Inc. and author of Human Resources Kit For Dummies(R) (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).  “As members of the baby-boom generation retire, shortages of skilled workers will likely start emerging. Tenured employees take with them valuable experience, industry contacts and knowledge of best practices that are difficult to replace."

 
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