Saturday, October 06, 2012

Study: Recommendations to Help Pittsburgh Deal with Critical Shortage of Younger Workers

The Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board (TRWIB) has released a report finding that Pittsburgh's workforce is aging faster than the national average and that it is facing a critical shortage of younger workers ready to move into jobs that will become available as a result of retirements in the workforce in the next 10 years. According to "Does Aging Matter? Workforce aging and its implication for collaborative talent management in the Pittsburgh region," a “disturbing scarcity of skills” for local jobs, especially in the areas of advanced manufacturing, education, healthcare, utilities and the trades, will leave the region without an adequate supply of younger workers with the skills to move into the jobs, and the expertise of older workers will be lost unless mentoring opportunities and programs are established.

While TRWIB proposes accelerating support of regional career, vocational training and technical centers to promote these careers, it also recognizes that reengaging older workers may help.
The size of the graying workforce presents a challenge to regional prosperity--especially if not utilized. Even if the business community can improve in managing an aging workforce, they cannot prevent layoffs or voluntary resignations of mature workers. As the cohort of older workers expands, we expect to see more displaced or transitioning talent in this age group.
Accordingly, on this front, TRWIB recommends:
  • helping older unemployed workers navigate the labor market;
  • developing effective job-seeking skills;
  • use career coaching to help older workers to capitalize on their expertise and interests and to facilitate their transition into meaningful encore careers; and
  • encourage self-employment and entrepreneurial opportunities by providing access to resources, training, and technical assistance for new
    entrepreneurs.
On the employer side, the report suggests:
  • companies may need to reconsider recruitment strategies, find advertising channels and an image that appeal to
    mature workers;
  • companies should learn to be more creative in generating
    opportunities for older workers who may be less productive due to a decrease of physical strength but have a substantial wealth of knowledge and skills developed within the company;
  • flexible work arrangements, phased retirement, and other innovative models.
Source: Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board News Release (October 3, 2012)

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