Workforce Planning: Surge in Retirement?
By: Edward Jones – NC State University, Jenkins MBA Student

Editor’s Note: Whether you’re an employer, jobseeker, student, or educational faculty in the industry, you’ve probably heard more than one conversation about the demand for talent increasing as the baby boomer generation reaches retirement eligibility. All types of statistics and fine calculations have been thrown at this subject in recent years. The AgCareers.com 2011 Agribusiness HR Review reports that companies within the agricultural sector anticipate 1-10% of their workforce to retire in the next 1-2 years (77%), and 1-10% to retire in the next 3-5 years (70%). But is that really the case? A group of students in the Jenkins MBA program at NC State University are hoping to find out. They have developed a brief 16 question survey to support their research and would like to ask for your help in collecting information regarding retirement plans. The article below elaborates on their project and includes a link to their survey.

Recent labor statistics estimate that roughly 40% of the current US labor force is over the age of 45. With this large percentage of the population approaching the ages for company retirement eligibility and Social Security benefits, the question arises: Should we predict a surge in retirement among our current workforce?

Implications of a mass retirement include not only a drastic decrease in the size of the labor force, but a sudden loss in both skilled labor knowledge and experience, leaving many companies with potential labor and information shortages. Additionally, a massive increase in Social Security benefit payment can be expected as well as a significant decrease in Social Security contribution by the remaining workforce. In response, the economic backlash could be detrimental to both individual business and the nation’s economy as a whole.

Skeptics, though, consider the probability of a mass workforce exodus to be insignificant at best. They believe that under our current economic situation, many Americans cannot afford to retire at the ages that they were once able. Other contributing factors for doubt include the overall uncertainty on future availability of government-funded healthcare, Social Security, and Medicare benefits. These skeptics believe that while 40% of the workforce may qualify for retirement, few will have the desire to retire, and even fewer would be able to live comfortably on current retirement packages.

We, a team of MBA students from NC State University, have developed a survey which we hope will be able to address these concerns. We will try to determine not only at what age people plan to retire, but what the motivating factors are for either retiring at earliest eligibility or delaying retirement and remaining a member of the workforce. The survey intends to provide demographic breakdowns of retirement trends and show when different groups of people plan to retire as well as why. Questions regarding factors of retirement motivation will provide insight into shifting views regarding social, economic, and political factors governing an employee’s decision to either retire or stay with their company.

Through this survey, we plan to be able to provide companies with the information needed for effective strategic workforce planning. Specifically, management will be better tooled to analyze whether they will need to implement employee transition plans or if they should be able to continue on with business as usual.

Help identify what the true outlook on retirement plans looks like by taking this brief survey. Gathered information is strictly confidential, will only be viewed by this MBA research group and will be used for the sole purpose of determining general retirement trends across US employees. No identifying data will be collected that could link responses to any specific individual or company. We greatly appreciate your participation. Click Here to take the survey!

jenkins_mba   The MBA program at the Poole College of Management provides a practical and relevant experience uniquely focused on the management of technology and innovation.

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