Study: U.S. Needs Older Workers

Article excerpt

Working in retirement, once considered an oxymoron, is the new reality, according to a recent report titled Managing the Mature Workforce, from The Conference Board, the business research nonprofit based in New York City that produces the Consumer Confidence Index and the Leading Economic Indicators. "As a result, the increasingly multiethnic workforce will also become more multigenerational," states a summary of the report.

The report shows that by 2010, the number of people ages 35 to 44 in the United States, those normally expected to move into senior management, will decline by 10%; the number of U.S. workers ages 45 to 54 will grow by 21 %-and the number of people ages 55 to 64 will expand by 52%.

Half of companies interviewed for the study feel that the departure of mature workers presents a potential "brain drain." The report notes that the representatives of the technology and pharmaceutical industries expressed worries about the development of new products and services and anticipate a drain in experienced engineers, key account sales representatives and senior managers.

Furthermore, about a third of participating companies have conducted workforce planning studies and identified potential knowledge areas where they could be vulnerable. Half of those interviewed have some form of mentoring program in place to share and transfer knowledge.

STAYING COMPETITIVE

"Organizations that fail to understand the complexities or recognize the opportunities associated with an aging workforce may risk their ability to stay competitive," emphasized Jeri Sedlar, coauthor of the report and a senior adviser to The Conference Board. …