Beware The Baby Bommer Brain Drain - Sponsored Whitepaper

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The facts are indisputable. US Baby Boomers “officially” start retiring in 2008. The Census Bureau indicates that's about 76 million people born between 1946 and 1964 that are eligible to retire over the next 10 years, creating the largest exodus out of the workforce by a single generation. This represents a level of brain power loss seldom seen in history. Many companies are already frantically figuring out the impact on them and how to deal with the loss of institutional knowledge that comes with the huge number of employees reaching the common age of retirement. Many businesses face losing 50% of its managers and other key employees eligible to retire by 2010, and 70% by 2015. The incoming work force over that same period will be about half that size. The U.S. Bureau of Labor reports that more than 17 percent of Boomer executives are predicted to depart their careers by next year. As Generation X & Y professionals become heir to the business world even as the Boomers leave, the consequence going forward on modern business success or failure is enormous.

While much of the world is watching to see the impact this milestone will have on the financial markets (entitlement programs, health care, etc) the informed business is considering how the Baby Boomer exodus will impact the work place from skilled labor to executive management needs. These forward looking companies recognize the drain of talent and experience of this magnitude cannot be replaced in full by incoming X & Y generations, robotics, job outsourcing, immigration or other known labor channels.

Baby Boomers are not your father's father

As we see examples of every day older people (55-70?) are simply more physically active in later years then their parents were. Their attitudes and intellectual approach to their later years is quite different from their grandparents at the same age including the work place. They enjoy working. Most are willing and able to continue contributing to a productive work environment if they are provided reasonable incentive and opportunity. With the mature steady mind-set that is common at this point in their work life many baby boomers enjoy the camaraderie that comes with work. Certainly, there are also a significant number of people who can't afford to retire. Understanding and appreciating the value these workers can provide to your business is critical. Finding ways to retain them in order to utilize their skills will be a trademark of the successful business going forward.

Boomers are generally considered open minded, highly experienced and good at getting things done. They possess good tactical skills and valuable wisdom from having overcome many roadblocks successfully, even if not having the technical skills of the X & Y generation. Companies are finding Boomers are willing to consider added work flexibility, less responsibility and new assignments in exchange for continued employment often creating win/win situations. Many are amenable to non- management positions in order to contribute in other ways that interest them. An example may be an architectural team manager who wants to lessen the stress by going back to being a designer rather then the leader. Informed companies are finding ways to entice older employees to stay beyond their retirement dates. It can be prudent and effective to develop positions that keep them challenged and engaged while working as mentors to younger workers. In this way the wisdom they've gained throughout their careers can be retained and passed on within your business. Baby Boomers and the X & Y generation
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