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Podcast on Changing Workforce Demographics

Earlier this month,  I had a discussion with Workforce Institute board members David Creelman, Mark Lange and Dr. Tim Porter O’Grady about their perspectives on how changes in the age demographics of the workplace are likely to impact organizations.  There have been multiple stories about this in the news lately including this recent NPR broadcast about delayed retirement, this Towers Perrin report on attitudes toward retirement, and this article by Peter Cappelli in HRE on the need for changing perceptions of older workers as more delay retirement.  All of these sources point to a trend toward later retirements, driven not only by economic factors like the recession and needed health benefits, but also by the desire of older workers to stay engaged in the world of work.  On the other end of the demographic spectrum, younger workers are entering the workplace with an equally keen desire to work, although arguably under a different employment contract than their elders were willing to accept.

I asked our panelists to talk about both boomer and millenial workers and what the future holds.  We recorded the discussion of these questions.  You can access their responses by clicking on the links below.

Question 1: For the better part of the last decade, there has been a lot of discussion and much written about how the retirement of the baby boomers would create significant deficits in the supply of labor.  To what extent do you think those predictions have or will come true?

Panel Discussion of Baby Boom Retirement Implications for the Workplace

Question 2: There are mixed reviews of the Millennial generation – generally thought of as those born after 1980.  What are your thoughts about the newest generation of workers and what contributions they’re likely to make to the organizations that employ them?

Panel Discussion of Millenials’ impact in the workplace

Bonus Feature! Readings and video suggested by our board members during this podcast:

Millenials Rising – Howe & Strauss

Drive – Daniel Pink

Dan Pink video about surprising aspects of what motivates us. (Hint – for knowledge work, it’s not money…)

2010 IBM Global CHRO Study

There is lots of good information contained in the newly released 2010 IBM Global CHRO study, a survey of 700 Chief Human Resource Officers around the globe.  According to their collective self-assessments, the biggest gaps that need to be addressed by CHRO’s are:

  • Cultivating creative leaders — who can more nimbly lead in complex, global environments
  • Mobilizing for greater speed and flexibility — producing significantly greater capability to adjust underlying costs and faster ways to allocate talent
  • Capitalizing on collective intelligence — through much more effective collaboration across increasingly global teams.

Although the greatest percentage growth in workforce development will remain in China and India, global organizations from those regions are also creating jobs in North America and Western Europe in order to expand their market reach.  According to these survey respondents, their organizations’ top 3 priorities in the next 3 years include developing new products and services, expanding into new markets and increasing operational effectiveness.

Interestingly, increasing operational effectiveness, while remaining a top 3 priority, is identified as a top priority this year by 64% of respondents, but only by 44% of respondents as a top priority in 3 years.  I find this response interesting.  Do leaders in these organizations really feel their operating issues are increasingly resolved over the next 3 years or is it optimism about the likelihood of increasing investment in growth that diminishes its perceived priority in 3 years?