How is your company preparing for the transfer of knowledge as your most experienced resources transition to retirement? According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report published in September 2020, 25% of workers in the United States will be 55 years or older by 2029. This poses a rising issue for business leaders as they consider the effects that an aging workforce can have on knowledge management and talent retention. To better understand this issue and how it’s beginning to affect different industries, Clarkston partnered with researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU) to survey executives and employees in our business network on change management, knowledge transfer, and organizational performance concerns related to workforce retirement planning.
Beth Ritter, a professor of Human Resource Management at NCSU, crafted this survey to learn more about how executives are prioritizing this issue and potentially making changes to their retirement planning and knowledge management processes. This survey aimed to answer questions such as: How have employees’ plans for retirement changed due to the global pandemic? What are the challenges that retirement poses for knowledge management? What concerns, if any, do executives have about the aging workforce?
This survey included individuals from companies in various industries across the United States. The size of the companies surveyed ranged from large to very small, with 56% percent of all respondents indicating that their company has less than 500 employees. A mix of private and public companies was also included, with 48% percent of all respondents coming from private companies. Most insights were gained from companies in manufacturing industries (such as consumer products, paper goods, and machinery) and service industries (such as hospitality, healthcare, and business services). We highlight several differences in responses between these industry groupings below.
How Concerned Are Firms About the Aging Workforce?
With our clients, we’ve seen time and again that the long-term performance of your organization is deeply tied to your people practices and knowledge management. Survey results indicated that executives across industries are becoming more highly aware of knowledge management issues as they relate to an aging workforce. In the survey, 52% of respondents said their concerns about a loss of talent due to an aging workforce are on the same level as concerns about other labor market risks. Overall, 19% of respondents said that concerns over a loss of talent due to an aging workforce were greater than concerns over other labor market risks.