SHRM-AARP Poll Shows Concern about Aging Workforce

Nov 17, 2010

Two Associations Announce Collaboration to Help Organizations Respond

Alexandria, Va., Nov. 17, 2010 – The retirement of the 76 million-member baby boom generation — who begin turning 65 on Jan. 1 — will influence the U.S. workforce for years to come. To help organizations meet this challenge, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and AARP are teaming up to provide resources and strategies.

In a national poll released by SHRM and AARP, a majority of organizations described the loss of boomers and their highly valued talent from the workforce as a potential or serious problem.

Almost six out of 10 organizations responding to the SHRM-AARP Strategic Workforce Planning Poll implemented or plan to implement programs in preparation for boomer retirement.

Training has increased and flexible scheduling has been added at about three-quarters of the organizations that have begun planning. Increased recruiting and succession planning have begun at 60 percent of them, and more than half of these organizations indicated that they have created benefits to entice older workers to stay in the workforce, including pension plans with provisions for older workers and long-term care benefits.

This is welcome news to boomers who, according to AARP’s Staying Ahead of the Curve report, intend to remain working past traditional retirement age.

Whether the baby boom generation retires as planned in the next 10-plus years or boomers remain in the workforce, the workplace will be redefined.

“The next years are critical to addressing the challenges associated with an aging U.S. workforce,” SHRM Interim President and CEO Hank Jackson said. “HR professionals are helping employers stay flexible and competitive and helping knowledgeable older workers stay engaged.”

With a common interest in issues related to workers age 50 and older, AARP and SHRM also are collaborating on education and raising awareness about the implications of an aging U.S. workforce.

“We look forward to working with SHRM on a number of initiatives to help ensure that the value of older workers is recognized,” said Barry Rand, CEO of AARP.“Innovative approaches are needed to retain and engage the age 50 and older employee in an increasingly diverse workforce.”

Rand and Jackson examined “HR and the Aging Workforce” in a special supplement to the October issue of SHRM’s HR Magazine.

The poll of 381 randomly selected HR professionals was conducted in early July by SHRM. It also found that 48 percent of respondents’ organizations have not conducted — and had no plan to conduct — a strategic workforce analysis to identify the impact of their retiring workers or they believed it was not applicable to their organizations.

To respond to this opportunity for education, SHRM is co-sponsoring and promoting among its 250,000 members AARP’s free online Workforce Assessment Tool. This unique planning resource, which already has been used by more than 1,500 companies, provides a snapshot of an organization’s workforce and demographics and the programs in place to leverage the talents and experience of its older workers.

AARP and SHRM are considering other initiatives to increasingly engage HR professionals in the campaign to keep older workers in productive workforce roles as long as possible and to plan for the transfer of their knowledge and skills long before they retire.

To read the poll, visit:

MEDIA: For more information about the poll or the SHRM-AARP collaboration, please contact Kate Kennedy at and 1-703-535-6260 or Julie Malveaux at and 1-703-535-6273.The AARP contact is Dave Nathan in Media Relations at 202-434-2560 or


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