Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Survey: Ernst & Young Suggests Employers Not Ready to Face an Aging Workforce

Ernst & Young has released a follow-up to its 2006 report on the aging workforce. In this new survey--"Aging Workforce Survey: Challenges and Responses--An Ongoing Review", employers in the United States are depicted as remaining unprepared for the looming brain drain stemming from the aging of the “baby boomer” generation, "leaving themselves open to economic and productivity challenges if strategic plans are not put in place over the next five years."

Using response from human resource (HR) executives from Fortune 1000 companies, the survey confirms that a gap in strategy exists across organizations when preparing for and developing programs to meet the demands of this population as it nears retirement. The findings also suggest that employers may be experiencing a disconnect with this demographic in areas such as succession planning and employee benefits programs. For example, 41% say middle management level employees will be most affected by the brain drain; however, of those with formal succession-planning programs in place, 75% are focused on monitoring senior management only.

Among other key findings in the survey:
  • Although 44% say it would be desirable to have senior management stay beyond the normal retirement age, 60% say current programs are “neutral” in terms of encouraging or discouraging retirement at a certain age;
  • only 29% are considering phased retirement programs (with only 9% having such programs in place);
  • 39% agree health care is the main driver in one’s decision to retire, but 54% are considering increasing employee co-pays that which could lead to the loss of talent.
Ernst & Young LLP also hosted a Thought Center Webcast with a panel discussion on the aging workforce and whether Corporate America is prepared to deal with the challenges arising from the impending retirement of the "baby boomer" generation. The webcast will be archived on their website.

Source: Ernst & Young News Release (October 22, 2007)

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