CDI Corporation

Is Your Company Prepared for Baby Boomer Retirements?

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Nine years ago, the first of 78 million Baby Boomers turned 60, and 2008 was supposed to see a huge number of retirements. When the first Baby Boomers began to draw benefits, the Social Security Administration dubbed it the start of “America’s silver tsunami,” but then the economy faltered, housing values plummeted, retirement portfolios shrank, and seniors who thought they had planned for financial security decided to postpone retirement for a few years. Now the economy is strong once again, candidates are in the driver’s seat, and statistics are coming in from a variety of industries saying that large numbers of their senior management will be retiring soon.

For most employers, the first priority is still hiring for open permanent positions, securing needed contract workers and retaining high performers. They are aware of the challenges ahead of them, according to new data from CDI subsidiary, MRINetwork. The MRINetwork 2017 Recruiter Sentiment Survey, found over 70 percent of recruiters and employers indicating that they are somewhat to extremely concerned about replacing Baby Boomers who are reaching retirement. While companies indicate concern, the vast majority have not proactively addressed it, indicating in the survey that they are largely unprepared to deal with a surge in retirements or a millennial-dominated workforce. Top areas of concern include feeling ill-equipped to develop programs to retain Baby Boomers, and lack of knowledge about how to accommodate the work-life balance demands of the younger generations.

“Companies need to continue to develop and enhance workforce strategies focused on attracting and retaining top talent, in order to prepare for baby boomer retirements,” advises Bill Hyman, chief human resources officer for CDI Corporation. “Taking a proactive approach through long-term recruitment and retention strategies will enable employers to better address retirements beyond the exit of Boomers.”

Hyman suggests exploring the following questions to understand the immediacy of the baby boomer exit and to thoughtfully prepare for it:

  • Does your succession plan identify people in your organization who are ready to assume leadership positions? Do you need to create new positions now or bring in additional contract employees in order to develop the bench strength you need in the years ahead?
  • What workforce strategies must be put in place to capture the key competencies and critical work knowledge of employees who will be retiring?
  • Are you ready to customize your current programs to provide what your permanent and contract staff need and want, particularly in terms of career pathing? Your workforce will likely be comprised of both early career workers and experienced workers, who have different learning needs.
  • Are you prepared to implement flexible work arrangements, such as working part-time, on a contract basis or from home that will both encourage Baby Boomers to continue working and satisfy Millennials’ need for better work-life balance?
  • Is your organization positioned to meet the needs of your over-65 customer segment when your Baby Boomers leave? What new skills and competencies will mid-career employees need to service this segment?

“An effective succession plan requires a solid knowledge transfer process,” concluded Hyman. “The best way for companies to retain the knowledge and expertise of their senior leaders is to identify and mentor the next generation of leaders so they are able to take on more responsibility when the time comes.”

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“An effective succession plan requires a solid knowledge transfer process. The best way for companies to retain the knowledge and expertise of their senior leaders is to identify and mentor the next generation of leaders so they are able to take on more responsibility when the time comes.”

Bill Hyman
Chief Human Resources Officer
CDI Corporation

Employment Situation (U.S.)

The U.S. added 261,000 jobs in October, with many of the new positions replacing those lost due to Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.

While Bloomberg economists estimated the country would gain 313,000 jobs last month, they anticipate that October’s numbers will mark a return to steady hiring increases over the next several months.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.1 percent in October, from 4.2 percent in September. Meanwhile, the underemployment rate dropped to 7.9 percent, which is its lowest level since December 2006, Bloomberg noted.

“There are obviously storm distortions in this report, but the decline in the unemployment rate reflects ongoing improvement in the labor market. November is going to clear a lot of this up,” said Michael Gapen, chief U.S. economist at Barclays Plc.

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls saw little change in October, declining by 1 cent to $26.53. The decrease follows a gain of 12 cents in September. Average hourly earnings have increased by 2.4 percent over the year.

Professional and business services gained 50,000 positions in October, while manufacturing added 24,000 jobs.

Industries that remained relatively unchanged over the month included construction, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities and government.

Bloomberg reported that as the U.S. seems to be nearing maximum employment, the Federal Reserve is likely to raise interest rates next month for the third time this year.

The full Bureau of Labor Statistics report can be downloaded by
clicking here.

Employment Situation (Canada)

Canada saw a respectable increase in its employment during October 2017. According to the most recent Labour Force Survey conducted by Statistics Canada, total jobs rose by 35,000 from the previous month’s numbers, and October’s figure also constitutes a year-over-year uptick of 308,000 positions – a 1.7 per cent increase. Although the unemployment rate saw a miniscule jump of 0.1 per cent to reach a 6.3 per cent total, gains in full-time employment and the job total increase itself together cancel out the slight jump in the joblessness percentage.

In fact, Bloomberg reported that the strong increase in full-time work constitutes the largest such uptick over a two-month period ever recorded in Canada.

Differing economic indicators
There exists some skepticism among economists and bankers about the bottom-line meaning of the nation’s labour force growth. For example, exports and deficits both remain on the decline – the former, during 2017’s third quarter, seeing its largest drop over an equivalent period since 2009, when the Great Recession was in full swing.

Avery Shenfeld, chief economist for Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, summed up the situation thusly: "Growth indicators for Canada have been decelerating, but you wouldn’t know it looking at the labour market, where employers are still beefing up their workforce," he said, according to Bloomberg.

Yet the preponderance of improved labour-related metrics, which include growth in youth unemployment, wages and hours worked in addition to those previously mentioned, stands out as evidence that Canada’s economy, while not perfect, is nonetheless headed in a positive direction.

The Canadian dollar jumped to a nine-day high on the basis of the Labour Force Survey, according to BNN. This has led some to predict another interest-rate hike by the Bank of Canada, but the central financial institution made no present indications of its plans.

Services major driver of growth
Jobs categorized by Statistics Canada as "other services" accounted for much of October’s growth, with an increase of 21,000 positions in sectors falling under this heading – personal services, those with full-time roles in civic organizations and so on. Manufacturing employment rose by 7,800 but grew at a faster rate than other industries, as has been the case all year. Professional, scientific and technical services saw the biggest year-over-year increase, with 85,000 jobs added for a 6.1 per cent gain.

Construction and recreation employment went up by 18,000 and 15,000, respectively – both jumps doing little to change their totals. Only wholesale and retail trade experienced a real employment drop, with 36,000 jobs lost.

Canadian ES Report:
Labour Force Survey, October 2017

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