We hear about the impact millennials (those typically with birth years from the early 1980’s to the early 2000’s) are having and will continue to have on the workforce. But, there is another phenomenon that has been given the name “silver tsunami”, and that is the growing segment of employees nearing or at retirement age, and concerning just what impact the loss of that experience pool will have going forward.
Employers are faced with ‘silver tsunami’ issues such as who will retire and those who will want to continue working, and what those decisions will do to employee benefit practices for example. If you haven’t given any thought to this, you might wish to engage your employee benefits broker or consultant to begin the planning for this possibility.
There is another very intriguing aspect to this ‘silver tsunami’ wave, and that centers in our world, the world of employment and recruitment. ‘Silver tsunami’ workers have significant organizational wisdom that might be lost upon their retirement. There is also the intriguing potential for employers needing skilled talent no matter the age, to focus some recruiting efforts on the ‘silver tsunami’ group.
There are ‘supply issues’ in the current employee talent pool and you probably know that as well as we do. There are simply too few qualified people available in certain fields to meet today’s demand. The ‘silver tsunami’ group might provide part of the solution. Recruiting in that pool may provide more talent and better availability if the attained age is not a problem for the hiring employer.
We need to review our recruiting practices to assure that we can find those who may have ‘aged out’ in one company while they still want and need to work. A recent Society for Human Resource Management and Sloan Foundation survey found that 66% of HR professionals said their organizations now employ older workers who have retired from other organizations or careers. Of those people being hired from that pool, 58% said they went to work after retirement because they enjoyed it and needed to find something to do with all the time they suddenly had available. Another 45% said their reasons centered on health care benefits.
Obviously, millennials are very important, but we need to be reminded not to lose sight of the value to be found among those in the ‘silver tsunami’.
Tom Krist, President