FDs predict skills gap shortage

Finance directors are braced for a significant skills gap when baby boomers retire over the next two to five years which they believe will have a negative impact on their business.

The results highlight the need to train and develop younger staff or identify a suitable recruitment pool to step into the vacanices left behind.

Only one-in-10 (10%) finance directors surveyed by Robert Half said they did not foresee a potential skills gap.

The research found that 74% of finance directors were concerned that the skills gap resulting from widespread retirement of baby boomers would have a negative impact on their organisation over the next two years.

Finance directors in small businesses looking further ahead were the most concerned about losing their experienced baby boomers, with 84% predicting that the departure of older professionals over the next five years would have a negative impact on their business. This compared to 77% for medium businesses and 69% for larger businesses, where the impact of key leavers can be more easily accommodated.

Not only will employers need to consider the impact of the skills shortage that this mass-departure will create, but they will also have to accommodate different demands and expectations from younger Generation X and Y workers coming to replace them, Robert Half said.

Companies were already preparing for the loss of older workers by increasing training and development programmes (45%), enhancing benefit programmes to retain baby boomers (32%), hiring mid-level talent to develop a skills pipeline (27%), increasing mentoring programmes and knowledge transfer (25%), hiring senior-level talent to replace retiring employees (22%) and offering flexible and/or part-time work arrangements to attract and retain baby boomers (16%).

Robert Half UK managing director Phil Sheridan said: “With employers challenged in finding the skills they need to grow their businesses, establishing a succession plan with a robust attraction and retention strategy will be critical to succeed in today’s economy. In some cases, offering project or interim contracts to employees nearing retirement will open up positions for aspiring managers to move up the career ladder, while still operating under the guidance of a mentor.”

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