UK employers are anticipating a significant skills gap when baby boomers retire over the next two to five years and are already taking steps to mitigate the risk. New research from leading recruitment specialist Robert Half UK reveals that 74 percent of finance directors are concerned that the skills gap resulting from widespread retirement of baby boomers will have a negative impact on their organisation over the next two years. An even higher proportion (77 percent) say that the departure of older workers will have a negative impact over the next five years.
Born after the-Second World War and before 1965, baby boomers are associated with the soaring post-war birthrate and the last generation to experience and take advantage of regular improvements in the socio-economic landscape. Baby boomers also represent a bulge in the workforce that will soon be at retirement age.
Not only will employers need to consider the impact of the skills shortage that this mass-departure will create, but they will also have to accommodate different demands and expectations from younger Generation X and Y workers coming to replace them.
Finance directors in small businesses looking further ahead are the most concerned about losing their experienced baby boomers, with 84 percent predicting that the departure of older professionals over the next five years will have a negative impact on their business. This compares to 77 percent for medium businesses and 69% for larger businesses, where the impact of key leavers can be more easily accommodated.
Companies are already preparing for the loss of older workers by increasing training and development programmes (45 percent), enhancing benefit programmes to retain baby boomers (32 percent), hiring mid-level talent to develop a skills pipeline (27 percent), increasing mentoring programmes and knowledge transfer (25 percent), hiring senior-level talent to replace retiring employees (22 percent) and offering flexible and/or part-time work arrangements to attract and retain baby boomers (16 percent). Only one-in-10 (10 percent) finance directors said that they did not foresee a potential skills gap.