FDs worried retiring ‘baby boomers’ widening skills gap

Team of professionals
By Kyle McHatton, CA Today

17 November 2015

UK employers are anticipating a significant skills gap when baby boomers retire over the next two to five years.

New research by Robert Half UK has indicated that 74% of Finance Directors (FDs) are becoming increasingly concerned about the skills gap resulting from the widespread retirement of baby boomers (those currently aged between 51 and 69).

Many of those surveyed indicated that this will have a negative impact on their business over the next two to five years.

The research findings corresponds with a recent survey conducted by The CA magazine, which found that the skills shortage is a key issue for UK Finance Directors.

Greater impact on smaller business

FDs of small businesses are the most concerned about losing their experienced workers, with 84% predicting that their departure will have a negative impact on their business, the survey revealed.

This compares to 77% for medium businesses and 69% for larger businesses, where the impact of these key leavers can be more easily accommodated.

Only one-in-10 FDs said that they did not foresee a potential skills gap.

Phil Sheridan, UK Managing Director of Robert Half, said that employers are facing a "profound shift as baby boomers look to exit the workforce, compounding the existing skills gap".

He added: “With employers challenged in finding the skills they need to grow their businesses, establishing a succession plan with a robust attraction and retention strategy will be critical to succeed in today’s economy.”

Avoiding loss of key skills

Robert Half said that employers will not only need to consider the impact of the skills shortage that this mass-departure will create, but they will also have to accommodate different demands and expectations from younger Generation X and Y workers coming to replace them.

Companies are already preparing for the loss of older workers by:

  • Increasing training and development programmes (45%)
  • Enhancing benefit programmes to retain baby boomers (32%)
  • Hiring mid-level talent to develop a skills pipeline (27%)
  • Increasing mentoring programmes and knowledge transfer (25%)
  • Hiring senior-level talent to replace retiring employees (22%)
  • Offering flexible and/or part-time work arrangements to attract and retain baby boomers (16%).

Phil Sheridan said: “It is important to recognise that younger Generation X and Y employees will expect different social contracts with their employers and that this should form the second phase of any baby boomer transition planning.”


  • Business

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