Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

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‘Brain drain’ enhances chances for Baby Boomers’ post-retirement employment

Older federal employees who are looking to retire and plan to continue working may find some employers waiting with open arms.

That’s because the “brain drain” — the loss of skills long predicted to hit the federal workforce with the departure of the Baby Boomers — is happening all across the U.S. workforce, and human resources managers find the loss of older employees problematic.

A joint poll conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and AARP—which polled both private and public employers—found that 72 percent of HR professionals polled said the loss of talented older workers was “a problem” or “a potential problem.”

U.S. employers have begun to address those concerns, the poll found. In addition to developing succession planning and cross-training their workforces, employers also have begun to take action to retain and recruit older workers, according to the poll.

Among those retention and recruiting measures, 30 percent of HR managers polled said their organizations had hired retired employees as consultants or temporary workers, 27 percent offered flexible work arrangements, and 24 percent had designed part-time positions to attract older workers.

At this time, the poll found that government organizations are more likely to have hired retired employees as consultants or temps—51 percent of them indicated they had, compared to 24 percent of publicly owned for-profit firms and 22 percent of privately owned for-profit firms.

At the same time, even though HR folks had concerns about the impending departure of the Boomers, about 71 percent of polled organizations said they had not yet conducted a strategic workforce planning assessment of how the departure of their workers age 50 and older will affect their firms, according to the poll.

But HR people do find differences in the skills of younger and older employees, according to the poll, which asked HR types to identify the greatest basic skills gaps between workers age 31 and younger and those 50 and older.

In terms of the greatest “basic skills” gaps, 51 percent said they find that older workers have stronger writing, grammar and spelling skills in English. About a third, 33 percent, said older workers had an edge in technical skills.

When asked about “applied skills” gaps, 52 percent said older workers exhibit stronger professionalism/work ethic. Twenty-seven percent said older workers had the advantage in critical thinking and problem-solving.

So if you are Baby Boomer fed thinking about retirement, but are not yet ready to give up work entirely, take heart.

Somebody out there likes you.


Posted by Phil Piemonte on Apr 10, 2012 at 4:02 PM

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