Baby Boomer 'Brain Drain' Will Be A Slow Leak - InformationWeek

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Baby Boomer 'Brain Drain' Will Be A Slow Leak

Even before the first wave of baby boomers began reaching retirement age, predictions of an impending brain drain looked pretty dire. About 50% of the federal government's workforce was expected to retire over the next few years. Now, it looks like many of those people will be staying put longer.

Even before the first wave of baby boomers began reaching retirement age, predictions of an impending brain drain looked pretty dire. About 50% of the federal government's workforce was expected to retire over the next few years. Now, it looks like many of those people will be staying put longer.The "tsunami" of federal workers that was expected to retire in the next five years will be more like a trickle, according to a new report by John Slye, an analyst at research firm Input.

That's due to an assortment of reasons, including prospective retirees wanting to "stay active" longer to those wanting to "refill the coffers" of their retirement savings, says Slye. "After the dot-com bust, the market went south and some are still trying to recover," he says.

And if the same patterns hold true for retirement-age baby boomers in the private sector, those folks will likely be sticking around for a while, too. (Based on the volatility of the stock market in recent months, now's probably not a great time to look at your 401(k) for reassurance.)

According to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), among all full-time permanent employees in the federal workforce as of October 2004, 58% of supervisory and 48% of non-supervisory workers will be eligible to retire by the end of fiscal 2010, says the Input study.

However, despite the number of retirement-eligible workers, OPM now predicts that retirement rates through 2013 "will not vary significantly" from historical rates. Retirement rates are predicted to be 2% to 4% annually for most agencies, which is only "a fraction" higher than it's been over the last decade, says Slye's study.

So, what does this all mean to employers? The anticipated talent shortages aren't likely to hit all at once. Just because people "can" retire, doesn't mean they will right way.

The good news in all this? If your organization hasn't come up with a "knowledge management" program to prepare your younger workers to fill the void (and most companies today admit they have no plan), you've got some extra time to get your act together.

Sooner or later, those people will be leaving and taking their experience with them. So, tap into that know-how now.

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