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A pressing problem

One of most important issues for organisations is ensuring they have the right people with the right skills in place to do what needs to be done.  And I think businesses are facing a timebomb unless they recruit more young people.

The caption on the front of People Management this month says "Paradise Lost - how will we manage people who can't - or won't - retire?"  And therein lies the problem.

As the article says "older workers have fared relatively well during this recession.  That's just as well, because with dwindling pension pots and increased life expectancy, there will soon be far more of them."  It goes on the ask the question "But are organisations prepared for more people working longer?"  The article principally focuses on the expectations and issues around managing a workforce where the age profile is geared to the upper end. 

My concern is linked but  different.  How will organisations ensure that they are attracting and retaining the future talent that they need whilst also managing the expectations of the older employees in their workforce?

With the educational system producing more graduates and a lack of emphasis on practical or vocational subjects, many young people lack clarity about what they want from their future careers.  Added to which the difficulty in obtaining graduate placements, internships and job opportunities is likely to affect their motivation and enthusiasm for fulfilling work and encourage an 'any job will do' attitude.

The People Management article focuses on occupations where there are skills shortages and of course, where this is the case it makes sense to allow older people to delay their retirement.  The article mentions older workers' desire for more flexible work and this would allow for more skills and knowledge transfer. 

Certainly this is a strategic issue that will come higher up the priority list for many organisations as the UK emerges from recession, so merits some creative thinking now.  What do you think?


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