Exploring Solutions for Dealing with an Aging Workforce

Last Updated on: 22nd November 2023, 09:27 am

As the global population continues to age, the exodus of STEM professionals hitting retirement age poses a risk to businesses worldwide. With baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) leaving their jobs, employers are losing valuable skills and experience, which has the potential to exacerbate the already large skills gap.

According to the World Health Organization, by 2030, one in six people will be aged over 60, and by 2050, this figure is expected to hit 2.1 billion. This demographic shift is one of the biggest megatrends affecting global markets, and is a key driver in the exponential growth for specialist STEM talent.

To gain insight into the needs and motivations of STEM professionals when it comes to work, recruitment agency SThree conducted a study, ‘How the STEM World Evolves’. Based on more than 2,300 permanent and contract workers in STEM disciplines, the study highlighted the importance of employers focusing on how to harness and protect their valuable skills and experience.

The research also pinpointed a mismatch between what matters to STEM professionals in their jobs and how happy they are with these elements, which the report calls the ‘satisfaction-importance gap’. Older workers are more likely than younger colleagues to be dissatisfied with parts of their working life, including how engaging and inspiring they find their role.

SThree suggest employers consider passing on the knowledge and wisdom of seasoned professionals to the emerging workforce, as a strategy to bridge the skills gap. They also recommend employers make roles or contracts more attractive to keep hold of these specialists for longer, and create upskilling initiatives or knowledge transfer programmes for the broader workforce.

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