Many economists say that the worst of the recession is over and unemployment will decline as the recovery takes hold. Undoubtedly, recruiters will soon find themselves busy with more positions to fill, less time to fill them, and a more aggressive talent landscape to compete in. Unfortunately, the post-recession rush for talent may not be the worst of what’s to come. Even now, as companies are rushing to ready their talent acquisition systems for the recovery, they may be ignoring a much larger and more pressing issue: the baby boomer exodus from the workforce.
According to a report by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College, 77 percent of employers have not analyzed projected employee retirement rates or assessed employee career plans. In other words, employers are largely unaware of the true impact the baby boomer exodus will have. In 2000, baby boomers were 48% of the US labor force. By 2010, they’re projected to represent only 37% of the labor force. This decline would represent a shortage of 10-15 million workers in the next decade alone.
Maybe it’s time to start analyzing.
The talent gaps created by experienced and skilled baby-boomers leaving the work force will be large. Even if most of the replacements for those workers come from within the company, many new hires will still be needed to replace the replacements. There is no way around the problem: new candidates will be needed and in large numbers.
So how can we prevent a complete catastrophe?
The good news is that great candidates are still out there looking. Now is the time to start building relationships with candidate pools in order to identify those individuals who truly stand above the rest. When hiring freezes are lifted and new positions open up, a truly excellent recruiting team will already have candidates in mind. Remember that the candidates being hired today will be in line for those leadership positions currently held by baby-boomers, make sure to catch some good ones.
As far as Talent Technology is concerned, employers should ensure that they have a proper Workforce Planning and Applicant Tracking System in place. The worst outcome by far would be for employers to miss out on the best candidates because they were unprepared for the exodus or were inundated with low-quality resumes.
In summary, here are the steps for success:
1. Identify the potential impact of the baby boomer exodus on your business
2. Use Succession Planning tools to properly identify replacements from within the company and Workforce Planning to identify the additional staffing levels needed to fill the gaps
3. Build candidate relationships through career fairs and ongoing interviews. Leveraging Candidate Relationship Management tools (CRM), frequently reach out to your candidates of choice to see how they are doing and update them on positions within your company
4. Make sure that processes are in place to properly screen out low-quality candidates in order to save recruiters the time they need to properly evaluate good candidates
5. Get started early and be ready!