Employers say they are unprepared for retiring boomers: survey

    Only 16% of organizations have surveyed their older workers to collect
    information regarding their retirement plans

    TORONTO, Oct. 7 /CNW/ - While many Canadian employers face retirement
levels of 20% or more over the next five years, most admit that they are not
fully prepared to deal with this important issue.
    The HRPA 2008 Survey on the readiness of Canadian businesses for the
coming wave of retirement - titled Are Canadian firms prepared for the boomer
exodus from the workforce? - was conducted by the Human Resources
Professionals Association in partnership with retirement lifestyle consultants
Life's Next Steps. A total of 627 HR professionals representing a broad
cross-section of organizations responded to the online survey related to the
coming retirement of boomers from the workforce.
    Full results of the survey will be released and examined during a
breakfast forum hosted by Life's Next Steps and cosponsored by the HRPA in
Toronto on Oct. 21, 2008. Speaking on the survey and the implications of the
labor shortage for businesses will be Claude Balthazard, Ph.D., Director, HR
Excellence, for the HRPA, and strategy and management expert Chris Armstrong.
    "We are surprised to see that not many HR professionals have given boomer
retirement the attention it may deserve," said Balthazard of the survey
results. "In order to maintain their economic health, organizations must
develop replacement strategies to address this growing issue."

    Highlights of the HRPA survey - Are Canadian firms prepared for the boomer
exodus from the workforce? include:

    -   26% of employers said they expect up to 20% of their workforce to
        retire in the next five years;
    -   15% of firms said up to 30% of their staff will hit retirement age
        within five years;
    -   8% of companies said they expect up to 40% of their workforce to
        retire during the coming five years;
    -   14% of organizations said they feel fully prepared for "the coming
        talent shortage";
    -   23% of companies admitted to being "poorly prepared";
    -   60% of companies said they are only "somewhat prepared".

    The survey also reveals what activities organizations are and aren't
undertaking to make themselves older-employee friendly. It is expected that
companies already introducing programs such as phased-in retirement and
retirement lifestyle coaching will have the advantage as the talent shortage
    "Many boomers obviously want to continue working in some way, to remain
active and engaged or due to financial concerns," said organizational
consultant Suzanne Armstrong, president of Life's Next Steps, a Toronto-based
company that delivers educational workshops to companies and older employees
who want to create effective action plans for the retirement years. "HR has an
opportunity right now to take the lead in creating programs that help boomers
plan for a different kind of retirement, and that encourage good employees to
stay involved in the workforce in ways that are practical and flexible. It can
be a win-win for employees and organizations. But employers need to act now to
create initiatives and incentives aimed at keeping some of these excellent
employees on the job in some way."
    According to the latest 2006 Statistics Canada census data for Canada's
workforce, about 15% of Canadians are now 55 or older and, for the first time,
half are over 40.
    Canada's aging boomer employees - born between 1946 and 1961 - account
for close to a third of the country's 32 million people and this group is at
the threshold of retirement age. Statistics Canada says the numbers of
retirement-aged Canadians in the workforce will continue to increase - in less
than 10 years, one in five people in the workforce will be aged 55 to 64.
    The survey is considered accurate within 3.9%, 19 times out of 20. The
survey targeted organizations whose workforce size was generally between 50
and 5,000. A total of 9% of companies surveyed had up to 49 workers, and 13%
of the firms had more than 5,000 employees.

    About the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA)

    The Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) is Canada's HR
thought leader, with over 17,000 members in 28 chapters in Ontario and other
locations across Canada and around the world. HRPA is internationally
recognized for its knowledge, innovation and leadership. It connects its
membership to an unmatched range of HR information resources, events,
professional development and networking opportunities and it annually hosts
the world's second largest HR conference. HRPA grants the Certified Human
Resources Professional (CHRP) designation, the national standard for
excellence in human resources management. More information on the HRPA is
available at www.hrpa.ca/hrpa online.

    About Life's Next Steps

    Life's Next Steps was created in response to the scarcity of information
and programs dealing with the life changes facing all members of the Baby Boom
Generation. While many people have planned their financial future, few have
received help in determining how to live a happy, meaningful and engaged life
in retirement. Through the Life's Next Steps program, soon-to-be-retirees
successfully create the life they really want and avoid the problems commonly
associated with retirement. These problems can include a perceived loss of
status, an identity crisis, a diminished sense of accomplishment, and a loss
of business and personal networks. Life's Next Steps focuses on how the "whole
person" can remain productive, engaged and happy for many more years. Using
proven analysis tools, interactive workshop techniques and facilitated
debriefing, the program helps participants build self-awareness, create a plan
and put their plan into effect. For more information and workshop details,
please visit www.lifesnextsteps.com online.

For further information:

For further information: Kieran Lawler, On behalf of the HRPA, Direct:
(416) 342-1823, Cell: (416) 303-0799, Kieran@mediaprofile.com; Life's Next
Steps, Mark Nusca, Direct: (416) 422-7179, Cell: (416) 433-2897,

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