HR and the Aging Workforce: Two CEO Points of View

News Updates

It’s been said that “in youth we learn; in age we understand.” Those words may be prophetic when it comes to understanding the seismic impact an aging U.S. workforce could have on our way of life. There’s cause for concern—and a real need for action.

As the first Baby Boomers move into their sixties, a much smaller generation of lesser-skilled employees have begun entering our workforce. If we don’t accommodate the former, and better prepare the latter, the consequences could be severe and long term.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and AARP are teaming up to meet that challenge. As the world’s largest organization devoted to HR issues, SHRM is at the forefront of anticipating workforce needs. AARP’s mission is helping people age 50 and older to have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society. Together, we share a natural concern about the coming changes in the workplace—and a common commitment to seek solutions. SHRM and AARP have agreed to work together, promoting projects that raise awareness about the implications of an aging U.S. workforce. This joint supplement with AARP CEO A. Barry Rand represents the beginning of that collaboration.

From the perspective of HR, I believe there are three basic questions that demand our focus: Why should we be concerned about the approaching generational transition? What should be done? What role will human resources play?