80% of companies fail to retain older workers

A manpower survey reports that four our of five companies are failing to implement retention strategies to keep older workers participating in the workforce.

The survey was conducted on more than 28,000 employers in 25 countries, and specifically regarded the recruiting and retention of older workers.

"Older workers have different needs than younger workers, and in order to meet those needs, their job preferences, personal interests and preferred work-styles must be assessed," said Sharon Birkman-Fink, president and CEO of Birkman International. "Retaining older workers is incredibly important for companies who wish to retain the skills and embedded knowledge base of their senior employees."

Since senior employees are not enticed solely by money, using personality assessment and progressive retention strategies are part of a successful formula for retaining skilled talents, which might otherwise be lost to retirement. And, given the demographics of the retiring baby boomers, the loss of this talent pool will put companies at a competitive disadvantage. By the time many businesses wake up to this loss, it may be too late.

The baby boomers are a significant percentage of the current workforce and are nearly ready for retirement. Experts expect tremendous gaps in competencies and know-how as a result of this demographic wave. Several industries, including electric utilities, oil and gas production, healthcare and the public sector, are already feeling the effects of baby boomer retirements.

"This could be catastrophic, considering that those best able to train replacements will be those that are leaving," said Birkman-Fink.

Personality assessment in conjunction with progressive retention strategies can offer an effective solution to this problem.

"Workers approaching retirement are simply looking for different things than younger ones, and sometimes a different position within the same industry or company may be attractive enough to keep them engaged and productive if the hours are right, and they are enthusiastic about the work," said Birkman-Fink. "But before employers can craft positions that fit the demands of their older work force, they must determine what those demands are."

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