Michael Nix December 12, 2008
Economics Professor Hamilton
Baby boomers effect on generation X and Y
During the next five to 10 years, millions of baby boomers will be retiring, essentially heading for the exits en masse. This exodus will create a demographically driven worker shortage that will put the power back into the hands of the job seekers. That means that today’s workers will eventually be able to say good-bye to static or shrinking paychecks, and that today’s unemployed can look for an end to all that pavement pounding.
Peter Cappelli, a management professor and the director of the Center for Human Resources at The Wharton School, conducted research that ...view middle of the document...
Yes, there’s the potential for a lot of people to retire all at once, but there have been few cases where it actually happens adding that the auto industry and government agencies are the most likely sectors to experience widespread retirements. In that scenario, Cappelli says the most pressing issue won’t necessarily be finding workers as much as preserving the knowledge of those who are leaving. "Organizations should be examining now if they have the capability to retain some of the knowledge," he says. "If they are paying any kind of attention, they should be able to do that. In short, don’t look for tomorrow’s population trends to provide a solution to today’s unemployment problem. "Demographics, which change slowly and predictably, aren’t going to cause a labor shortage, Cappelli says.
The employment boom that occurred in the late ’90s was in actuality a retention issue in disguise. "A couple of years ago, all sorts of companies were hiring like crazy and weren’t able to meet their business demands."The thought was that the problem was an inability to find enough people, but companies were losing people out the backdoor as quickly as they were hiring in the front door.
Ironically, Information Technology is one of the professions that historically has been most at the mercy of demographics because employers have focused on hiring people right out of college. So if Cappelli’s theory is right, is there any hope for a rebound in Information Technology employment? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t clear-cut. In light of the trend toward the global outsourcing of IT work, companies may not believe the need to fret about retaining skilled workers because the pool of available labor is now a worldwide one.