Employers say they are unprepared for retiring boomers: survey | National Union of Public and General Employees

Employers say they are unprepared for retiring boomers: survey

While many Canadian employers face retirement levels of 20% or more over the next five years, most admit that they are not fully prepared to deal with this important issue.

Toronto (8 October 2008) – This was one of the main conclusions from the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) 2008 Survey on the readiness of Canadian businesses for the coming wave of retirement. The survey, titled Are Canadian firms prepared for the boomer exodus from the workforce?, was conducted by HRPA in partnership with retirement lifestyle consultants Life's Next Steps.

A total of 627 human resource professionals representing a broad cross-section of organizations responded to the online survey related to the coming retirement of boomers from the workforce. The survey targeted organizations whose workforce size was generally between 50 and 5,000. A total of 9% of companies surveyed had up to 49 workers, and 13% of the firms had more than 5,000 employees.

"We are surprised to see that not many HR professionals have given boomer retirement the attention it may deserve," said Claude Balthazard, HRPA Director of the survey results. “In order to maintain their economic health, organizations must develop replacement strategies to address this growing issue."

Highlights of the HRPA survey include:

26% of employers said they expect up to 20% of their workforce to retire in the next five years;

15% of firms said up to 30% of their staff will hit retirement age within five years;

8% of companies said they expect up to 40% of their workforce to retire during the coming five years;

4% of organizations said they feel fully prepared for "the coming talent shortage";

23% of companies admitted to being "poorly prepared";

60% of companies said they are only "somewhat prepared".

The survey also reveals what activities organizations are and aren't undertaking to make themselves older-employee friendly. It is expected that companies already introducing programs such as phased-in retirement and retirement lifestyle coaching will have the advantage as the talent shortage intensifies.

According to the latest 2006 Statistics Canada census data for Canada's workforce, about 15% of Canadians are now 55 or older and, for the first time, half are over 40. Canada's aging boomer employees - born between 1946 and 1961 – account for close to a third of the country's 32 million people and this group is at the threshold of retirement age.

Statistics Canada says the numbers of retirement-aged Canadians in the workforce will continue to increase - in less than 10 years, one in five people in the workforce will be aged 55 to 64.


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