Can You Spare An Employee?

For the past couple of years I’ve read various reports forecasting there will be a shortage of workers in the American marketplace as the Baby Boomers start retiring en masse. Yet, in the workplace in general, I see and hear very little acknowledgement, at least so far of this possibility.

Roberta Chinsky Matuson cites the Bureau of Labor Statistics in her report  titled It’s the year 2010…do you know where your workers are?
Here’s the reality. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of available jobs is projected to increase by more than 22 million by 2010. The civilian labor force, however, is only projected to increase by 17 million. This suggests we will be approximately 5 million workers short of keeping up with job growth over the next 10 years.”

Those are jarring statistics. Matuson uses the analogy of a Perfect Storm in her article and gives some good suggestions for keeping the workplace of the future afloat. Employee appreciation and lessened workloads are stressed.

There are others who say that this forecast is somewhat exaggerated. This is based mostly on the premise (and some valid surveys from groups like AARP) that a lot of workers will choose to retire later, rather than sooner. And, that others will look to return to work, at least on a part-time basis after their initial retirement.  

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I think it emphasizes the value of employees – no matter what their age. Companies need to be willing to make adjustments to make the workplace safe and hospitable for the senior set. The  senior set, in turn needs to recognize that younger workers can move up and assume leadership at a faster pace; that responsibilities can be shared with their underlings along with knowledge. It may be the only way to spare all employees from future workplace chaos.

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