by Stephanie Gelston

Book Review – Planning Ahead for the Baby-Boomer Retirement Boom

Apr 15, 20062 mins
IT Leadership

In the coming war for talent, organizations that recruit and retain top-notch workers before the labor shortfall becomes acute will possess a competitive advantage. So say authors Ken Dychtwald, Tamara Erickson and Robert Morison in Workforce Crisis: How to Beat the Coming Shortage of Skills and Talent.

Much ink has been spilled elsewhere on the oft-cited estimate of a 10 million worker shortfall in the United States by 2010. More worrisome to the authors is the skills crunch they believe will precede this labor shortage.

IT has felt the pinch of this for some time: Witness the current shortage of information-technology graduates. But the perfect storm of baby boomer retirements and a deficit of young workers means the situation is poised to go from bad to worse unless employers take steps now to secure their talent pool. Workforce Crisis offers a road map for getting ahead now, by rewriting “the employment deal” with workers today.

In part, this means abandoning one-size-fits-all HR and becoming flexible—in work arrangements, education, and compensation and benefits—to accommodate workers in three distinct groups: mature workers (55 or over), midcareer workers (35-54 years old) and young workers (18-34 years old).

The particulars will vary. An older worker may prefer phased-retirement or retiree-return programs; a midcareer employee may need a sabbatical or leadership development to relaunch a career; and a young worker may crave decision-making responsibility or an engaging, stimulating workplace.

The book’s emphasis is on early action for dealing with the changing workforce. To that end, it is filled with case studies and best practices, as well as advice for undertaking a workforce analysis and overcoming barriers to change.