A joint poll by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and AARP shows that U.S. employers are ramping up skills training and employee benefits aimed at closing skills gaps left when Baby Boomers retire, and at retaining and recruiting older workers.
In 2011, the oldest of the 77 million Baby Boomers began turning age 65---the traditional retirement age. That is why 72 percent of human resource professionals polled described the loss of talented older workers to be "a problem" or "a potential problem" for their organizations.
HR managers said that the actions their organizations have taken to prepare for the loss of talented older workers who retire include the following:
--- increased training and cross-training (45 percent);
--- developed succession planning (38 percent);
--- hired retired employees as consultants or temporary workers (30 percent);
--- offered flexible work arrangements (27 percent); and
--- designed part-time positions to attract older workers (24 percent).
The poll, which focused on strategic workforce planning, 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 half (51 percent) of human resource managers indicated they find older workers to have stronger writing, grammar, and spelling skills in English;
--- Applied skills - more than half (52 percent) of human resource managers said older workers exhibit stronger professionalism/work ethic.
Despite the proactive steps being taken, the SHRM-AARP poll finds that many U.S. organizations are largely unprepared for the brain drain and skills void that talented, retiring older workers will leave. Roughly 71 percent 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.