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Preparing for an Aging Workforce: A Focus on Massachusetts Businesses

by: Katherine Bridges, M.G.S., AARP Knowledge Management, from: Surveys and Statistics

As the result of increasing numbers of older workers in the United States and a shrinking pool of younger workers following close behind, businesses could be confronted with the possibility of losing important organizational knowledge and skills with every worker leaving the company. Such losses could negatively affect a firm’s performance, possibly making it vulnerable to increased competition.

This AARP telephone and Internet survey of 407 firms in seven counties in and around Boston examines the extent to which Massachusetts businesses are responding to this challenge.

Of the employers surveyed...

  • 55 percent believe their business is likely to face a shortage of qualified workers within the next five years, but only 19 percent have consciously taken steps to prepare for the possibility of boomers retiring at the traditional age
  • 13 percent offer incentives to encourage employees to delay retirement
  • 67 percent say it is important to retain institutional knowledge that might be lost when workers retire or leave, and 84 percent acknowledge being affected by such losses, but only 30 percent have a formal process enabling retiring employees to share their knowledge

Surveying of 407 employers in the Greater Boston area was conducted for AARP by Alan Newman Research from July 5th through August 17th, 2006. While most interviewing was done by phone, 64 employers chose to use a survey instrument posted on the Internet. Further information about the survey may be obtained by contacting the report’s author, Katherine Bridges, at 202-434-6329. (23 pages)


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