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Posted by Phil Murphy on October 27, 2009
The rock-band R.E.M. sang a song about the "end of the world as we know it" and to hear some people talk - the end is near!
The Chicken-littles of the world would have us believe that retiring Baby Boomers will wreak untold havoc. Half the world's population will suddenly disappear from the workforce - collapsing world markets, straining national pension systems to the breaking point, and burdening younger generations with unmanageable national debt.
Other folks are at the opposite end of the spectrum - they're in denial, like ostriches with their heads deep in the sand - if they don't look at how bad the problem is, it can't hurt them, right? No staffing problems here - look we can still hire people, let's deal with today's problems and not go looking for tomorrow's troubles!
Those of you who were involved in IT during the Year 2000 issue in the late 1990s heard way too much hype from Ostriches and Chicken-littles. Remember, COBOL programmers were predicted to be commanding thousands of dollars an hour, spurring legions of retirees to come back to the workforce? Yeah well, if that REALLY happened, I'd have gone back to COBOL coding and earned enough to retire in Tahiti by now. True, there were some shortages, some public glitches and other glitches that were kept buried for the bad press they would otherwise create - especially in financial services. But net/net, the prudent management of resources got us through January 1st, 2000 with comparatively little pain - the wisdom of the owls won out.
Sensing that we're at the start of another bruhaha, I spent a good deal of last quarter sourcing data for my report on global workforce planning - which was just recently published. While it dispells much of the hype, it also serves as a call to action. I'd love to hear about the issue from the minds in the blogosphere and Twitterati - in your opinion, is this a pressing issue or just another sound-byte for IT? (pun intended)
On a scale of 1 to 5 - with 5 being "Very large" and 1 being "None" - please answer 3 questions:
1) Do you believe Boomer retirement will impact your IT organization significantly in the coming 5 years?
2) What is the level of activity in your firm to mitigate the impact of Boomer Retirement?
3) Do you believe Boomer retirement will impact your business significantly in the coming 5 years? (impact to non-IT staff and business volume).
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