It’s Time to Retire Retirement
Harvard Business Review March 2004
A severe shortage of talented workers is a threat to competitiveness that many have over looked.
The general population, and consequently the labour pool is ageing.
“The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a shortfall of 10 million workers in the United States in 2010, and in countries where the birthrate is well below the population replacement level (particularly in Western Europe), the shortage will hit sooner, be more severe, and remain chronic.”
Today’s mature adults (age 55 and above) control more than $7 trillion in wealth in the United States—70% of the total.
Companies need to learn to attract and employ older workers, yet, despite irrefutable evidence of workforce ageing, employers are making older employees take redundancy or retire.
“These employees are bottlenecked, with too many people competing for too few leadership positions. They’re distrustful, fearful, and defensive, knowing that they’re “too old” to easily find work elsewhere and likely to be pushed out before the “official” retirement age.”
“The challenge is to find a way to reconnect with these employees before they’re ready to take a retirement package and run—perhaps to a competitor.”
“On the basis of our research, we’ve concluded that the concept of retirement is outdated and should be put out to pasture in favour of a more flexible approach to ongoing work, one that serves both employer and employee. “
“Many people don’t want a life of leisure; half of today’s retirees say they’re bored and restless.’
How to attract and Keep mature workers:
1. Create a culture that honours experience.
2. Offer flexible work.
3. Introduce flexible retirement
“The notion of retirement as it is traditionally practiced—a onetime event that permanently divides work life from leisure—no longer makes sense.”
Benefits for older people: “These flex programs offer opportunities to mix work and other pursuits. They also offer personal fulfilment and growth, ongoing financial rewards, and continued enjoyment of the society of colleagues. “
Benefits for employers: “The programs provide an elastic pool of staff on demand and an on-call cadre of experienced people who can work part-time as the business needs them.”
“ ….people don’t suddenly lose the talent and experience gained over a lifetime at the flip of a switch. It’s not good business to push people out the door just because your policies say it’s time. Smart companies will find ways to persuade mature workers to delay retirement or even eschew it entirely as long as they remain productive and healthy.”