The clock is ticking: next year, in 2011, the oldest of the 76 million Baby Boomers turn 65. While that has long been considered traditional retirement age, Boomers are known for bucking the system. Many will decide to stay in the workforce and replenish their savings and retirement accounts. But when they do leave, they will take with them years of institutional knowledge acquired on the job.
Workplace demographics paint a startling picture: Almost 40 percent of the U.S. workforce is between 45 and 64. Many business leaders are beginning to ask some tough questions: who will replace Boomers when they leave? Will younger workers have the knowledge and skills to run our organizations when they do? Companies in many industries stand to lose significant numbers of highly skilled, tenured workers. But that’s not all they’ll lose. After years on the job, Boomers have developed deep, often intuitive knowledge about their company’s way of doing business and the relationships that have made them successful – and much of that could be lost as they walk out the door.
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About the Authors
Ken Ball is a Baby Boomer and has been tracking issues relating to aging in the workplace for several years. At TechProse, he drives business development for the consulting firm that specializes in knowledge/content management, training, and documentation for major U.S. clients. He has more than 30 years of experience in corporate sales and marketing, including years in book publishing business, working for IDG Books, publishers of the …For Dummies computer and general reference books. He has a marketing communications degree from Bradley University.
Gina Gotsill is a Gen X writer who has studied journalism at San Francisco State University and University of California, Berkeley. She is also a fellow of the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank based in St. Petersburg, Florida. Gina has covered a wide range of business topics that include keeping Boomer skills in the workplace, teaching finance to non-finance professionals, and growth and change in urban and suburban business clients.