Retiring baby boomers crisis

Skills and knowledge to leave with retirees

EMPLOYERS across Australia will face an impending skills and knowledge crisis as multitudes of baby boomers exit the workforce in coming years, according to leading recruitment agency Kelly Services.

It is estimated that up to 4 million baby boomers will retire in the next 10 to 20 years, marking the largest ever loss of knowledge and skills in the Australian labour market.

"This will spark a knowledge crisis as baby boomers exit the workforce with decades of corporate knowledge and experience," says Kelly Services' Rhonda Thorburn.

"It will leave organisations with the huge task of retaining and transferring that knowledge to the younger generations and will be one of the biggest challenges facing employers in the future."

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics

2004-2005 Multi-purpose Household Survey, those in the labour force aged more than 45 comprise 3.7 million of the 9.5 million working population. Many of those aged 45 years or more hold highly skilled and pivotal roles including those in management, teaching and health.

Ms Thorburn says many organisations in the US have begun implementing programs to retain and preserve the knowledge of retiring employees - and Australian organisations should follow their lead.

"In coming years, there will be a large proportion of the workforce leaving for retirement and taking with them valuable knowledge and industry expertise, particularly in jobs created by technology," she says.

"Many organisations in the US have recognised that the retirement of this generation could cause a knowledge gap in the workforce and have responded pro-actively by implementing knowledge transfer programs. These programs ensure that relevant information and knowledge gets passed on to the right people in a systematic way."

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