Employers increasingly concerned about the skills gap as baby boomers retire


The next two to five years will be revealing about employee skill sets as baby boomers start to retire – with 74% of finance directors growing increasingly concerned about the skills gap.

The research, from Robert Half UK, reveals that 77% of FDs believe that the departure of older workers will have a negative impact on their company over the next five years, and the majority (88%) are already taking steps to mitigate the risk.

Companies preparing for a potential skills shortage are increasing training and development programmes (45%), enhancing benefit programmes to retain baby boomers (32%) or offering flexible and/or part-time work arrangements to attract and retain older generation workers (16%).

As employers adjust to the new expectations of Generation X and Y employees coming into the workplace, a quarter (25%) are increasing mentoring programmes and knowledge transfer to mitigate the potential skills shortage.

Phil Sheridan, UK managing director of Robert Half, commented: “Employers are facing a profound shift as baby boomers look to exit the workforce, compounding the existing skills gap. With employers challenged in finding the skills they need to grow their businesses, establishing a succession plan with a robust attraction and retention strategy will be critical to succeed in today’s economy.

In some cases, offering project or interim contracts to employees nearing retirement will open up positions for aspiring managers to move up the career ladder, while still operating under the guidance of a mentor.

However, it is important to recognise that younger generation X and Y employees will expect different social contracts with their employers and that this should form the second phase of any baby boomer transition planning.”