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Tuesday, 01 March 2016 00:14

Skills gap to follow Baby Boomers exit – but still a place for some

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Skills gap to follow Baby Boomers exit – but still a place for some Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net/images

Australia faces a skills gap when the baby boomer generation – those born between 1946 and 1964 – retire, according to new research which also shows that businesses are doing whatever they can to attract and retain baby boomers with enhanced workplace benefits.

The research, commissioned by recruitment firm Robert Half, shows that 92% of businesses – specifically finance directors - are concerned that the departure of Baby Boomers in the job market will have a negative impact on their company over the next two years.

And, 95% say they believe there will be a skills gap due to the retirement of the Baby Boomer generation.

According to Robert Half Senior Managing Director Asia Pacific, David Jones employers need to start preparing now for the predicted skills shortage.

"With the Baby Boomer generation retiring over the coming years, companies risk facing a skills and talent shortage. In order for companies not to lose the expertise and know-how of their experienced employees, companies have to make talent management a priority,” Jones cautions.

The research does show that to ensure they can manage the loss of the Baby Boomer generation on the workforce, 97% of finance leaders are already taking measures to counter the potential skills gap.

It’s revealed that they are making significant commitments to invest in the next generation and are supporting them through measures such as, training and professional development programs (44%), mentoring programs (36%) and succession planning (29%).

And, according to Robert Half, companies are also considering external solutions and plan to recruit mid-level (38%) and senior-level (31%) employees who, “via the necessary knowledge transfer”, can be used to the maximum extent within the company in the short term.

"A thorough inventory of the core skills that organisations have in-house and the ones they will have to replace is an important first step. Potential successors should subsequently be readied in time by targeted training and mentoring programs,” Jones says.

“For the expertise that is not available internally, companies must look for new employees that possess the necessary skills and expertise. This means there will be new and additional job opportunities and companies are looking at both senior and less senior profiles to fill these roles.”  

Jones points out that, although the official retirement age in Australia is set at 65 years, many Baby Boomers will continue to work for several years to come - businesses are therefore making efforts to attract and retain this generation on the workforce by enhancing their employee benefits (39%) or by offering flexible and/or part-time work arrangements (18%).

Concludes Jones: “Baby Boomers generally have extensive experience and specific skills that businesses wish to retain as long as possible. Offering interim or part-time contracts to employees nearing retirement can be an ideal way to keep the knowledge of Baby Boomers in the company while at the same time offering the necessary flexibility.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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