FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, September 30, 2005

IBM Poised to Counter the Boomer "Brain Drain"

IBM Business Consulting is staking out a position to help companies facing the oncoming mass retirement of Baby Boomers and expected "brain drain" that will result. As InformationWeek reports:

IBM Wednesday introduced consulting services to help companies prepare for the loss of highly skilled and knowledgeable baby boomers set to retire in the next few years. The services, offered through IBM Business Consulting Services, will furnish companies with diagnostic tools based on advanced analytics, strategies, and methodologies to help them understand their employee base in real time, retain employees, transition knowledge from retirees to younger workers, and transform business processes to handle the demographic change and significant loss of skills.

With the median age of the American worker around 40, looming retirements are a critical problem for many employers. Within 10 years, the number of American workers over age 55 will double. IBM says organizations risk losing major skill sets and their competitive advantage as key workers retire. Exacerbating the problem, many organizations don't have a clear view of which skills they may be about to lose through retirement. "It's no longer a zero-cost option," says Edward Vitalos, an associate partner in IBM Business Consulting Services' human capital management group.

Many organizations -- especially government agencies -- have a shortage of younger workers due to hiring freezes and layoffs in the 1980's and '90's. When the Boomer workers at those organizations leave, no one will be waiting in the wings to succeed them.

Helping organizations cope with both the labor shortage and knowledge depletion resulting from retiring workers will be a lucrative business opportunity over the next few years. Another opportunity may be in job placement, matching businesses needing to hire replacement workers with Boomers looking for retirement jobs.