Survey: Aging Workforce Tests HR Departments

Compiled By Traci Purdum According to a recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the number of workers age 55 and over are expected to increase by 47% over the next seven years, and nearly two-thirds of human-resource professionals are preparing for the demographic change within their organizations. The "Older Workers Survey" was conducted in conjunction with the National Older Worker Career Center (NOWCC) and the Committee for Economic Development (CED). It identifies organizations' readiness to respond to the demographic changes in the workforce and respondents' perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of hiring older workers. The survey queried 428 human-resource professionals. "It's expected that the baby-boom generation will redefine retirement, because many plan to continue working in their later years," says Deb Cohen, vice president of knowledge development at SHRM. "As the worker shortage becomes more pronounced, HR professionals will be inclined to make more significant changes to their recruitment and retention benefits to better reflect the demographics of their organizations and the benefits of hiring older workers." Study findings include:

  • 32% of respondents said their organizations were doing nothing to prepare for the worker shortage; 36% have increased training; 29% have implemented succession planning or replacement charts;
  • 72% of the HR professionals said an advantage to hiring older workers was their willingness to work different schedules;
  • 78% said phased retirement, which would enable older workers to reduce hours and responsibilities, would be helpful.
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