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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Need for Organization-Wide Succession Planning

More than one quarter of U.S. businesses have failed to plan for the effects of the aging American workforce, according to the results of a new national survey by Boston College researchers.

Despite reports that the United States faces a shortage of millions of workers within the coming decade as baby boomers retire—taking with them years of experience, talent, and expertise and leaving fewer new workers available to take their place—The National Study of Business Strategy and Workforce Development, conducted by the Boston College Center on Aging and Work, found that many U.S. businesses are unprepared for changing workforce demographics.

Key findings of the research:

Key findings include:

  • Only 37% of employers had adopted strategies to encourage late career workers to stay past the traditional retirement age, despite the fact that late career employees "have high levels of skills and strong professional and client networks, a strong work ethic, low turnover, and are loyal and reliable."
  • 60% of the employers indicated that recruiting competent job applicants is a significant human resources (HR) challenge.
  • 40% indicated that management skills are in short supply in their organizations.
  • Only 33% of employers reported that their organization had made projections about retirement rates of their workers to either a moderate (24.1%) or great (9.7%) extent.
BOTTOMLINE: "Companies that do not plan for this aging workforce may find themselves suddenly faced with a loss of labor, experience, and expertise that will be difficult to offset, given the relatively small pool of new workers and the competition for new talent likely to result from so many companies facing the same problem," says Mick Smyer, codirector of the Center.

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