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Uncaught Exception: Retiring Baby Boomers

Grab a hammer and bring some nails, there is work to be done. It’s unstoppable and headed our way. Like a speeding train who’s destination is a depot that we haven’t built yet. It won’t wait for us to be ready. Admittedly, we are all so consumed with the issues of today’s business problems, that there is not time to worry about a plan for IT readiness in the next decade. Yet, the fact remains that only one out of every four Baby Boomers, who will retire, can be replaced. That’s it!. Consequently, this means that by 2022 the total IT workforce will be down by nearly seventy-five percent. Only to make matters worse, The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics has claimed that technical jobs will be second most in demand by the year 2020. This compelling evidence shows an increase of IT jobs that will be up by 26% by 2018. In fact, Gartner, the world’s leading research and advisory company, has included this problem on their top ten list of issues that face Information Technology in the future.

Clearly then, we need to prepare. Indeed, today’s ERP business systems are known for their accuracy in real-time processing, it is vital that they are supported with a stabilized staff of experts. These systems connect the data and the many processes between the critical elements of a company. They also provide a window of visibility to any business’ loyal customers. These systems are responsible for the four functions that all businesses carry out:

However, in spite of this predicted job shortage, software companies will continue the quest for supremacy. The result of these battles will be new emerging technology. In return, the need for additional specialized technical support will be necessary. Moreover, the data on our servers continues to inflate. It too will require extra IT support roles in regards to data archiving. Similarly, vital periodic system maintenance and upgrades cannot be ignored. Neither can we overlook the small and medium sized businesses who are looking to implement integrated business systems. The advances in business software are making these ERP systems more affordable, modular, and attractive to the smaller business.

Of course, this is good news for Millennials, if they are considering a career in the techno-functional world. Certainly, if the Generation y’rs are interested, there will be many IT job opportunities for them. Generation y will have the advantage to live quite comfortably. That is is of course if they can take the time from their busy work schedules to do so. But, let’s be honest, the paradigm has changed. Can the Millennials commit to corporate America?

Truthfully, I am not so sure that an infallible solution exists. We can prepare now by making small financial sacrifices, versus waiting, and paying for huge last minute costs. Surely, the smart businesses will take proactive measures and prepare now. Inevitably, we must enforce the use of Knowledge Management methodologies. NASA did the unthinkable when they sent a man to walk on the moon  But, the truth is, they couldn’t do it again. They would have to repeat the entire pain-staking process all over again. Today, there is no excuse for a company who does not capture the intelligence of their human capital.

Our chances for readiness will be improved if we hire, keep, and promote, Junior ERP Programmers and Analysts. We should respect them, pay them well, and reward them with bonuses. We should find candidates who are educated, and who are willing to work hard. They should be able to learn quickly. As well, we should remain approachable and mentor them. Conversely, it is surprising that job listings for senior technical staff outweigh the junior positions by a margin of three to one? Should we be seeking out and training tomorrow’s IT experts today?

Most importantly perhaps is the need to raise government awareness. Is the government really involved now? Subsidized educational incentives for business and technical students will surely increase student enrollment in these fields. This monetary benefit for learners could help to turn the tide in favor of increasing the availability of IT technical resources.

Lastly, if ever there was a time to start laying the tracks for the future, it is now. Holding onto intellect using KM practices is vital. We have to start hiring, mentoring, and keeping Junior Level IT staff now. And, we need to raise governmental awareness. Do you think the future of our economy is at risk due to this issue? What about the idea of phased retirement? Above all, we shouldn’t wait another day to pass the torch. Certainly, it doesn’t make sense to wait until we here the train whistle blowing when its already here. The tracks should be laid, and the station should be built, now.

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      Author's profile photo Martin English
      Martin English

      The cynical (who, me ?) might think that there will be no retirement, due to the lack of working stiffs (i.e. the gen y and millennial crowd) able to pay enough tax to keep me in the manner to which I want to become accustomed. But then, we can rely on there being enough retirees to ensure that any democratically elected government has to tax the heck out of whoever is left working....

      Enough politics, back to work to pay for my own retirement  🙂