Despite reports that the U.S. faces a shortage of millions of workers within the coming decade as baby boomers retire—taking with them years of experience, talent and expertise and leaving fewer new workers available to take their place—The National Study of Business Strategy and Workforce Development, conducted by the Boston College Center on Aging and Work, found that many U.S. businesses are unprepared for changing workforce demographics.

"Even though organizations know that the workforce is aging and understand that their own workers are looking at retirement, many are not making plans for how business will adjust to these changes," said Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, co-director of the Boston College Center on Aging and Work.

The study results are based on responses from 578 organizations from across the United States. Among the economic sectors represented were retail trade, manufacturing, healthcare and social assistance.

Key findings include: Only 37 percent of employers had adopted strategies to encourage late career workers to stay past the traditional retirement age, despite the fact that late career employees "have high levels of skills and strong professional and client networks, a strong work ethic, low turnover and are loyal and reliable."

Sixty percent of the employers indicated that recruiting competent job applicants is a significant Human Resources challenge. Forty percent indicated that management skills are in short supply in their organizations.

The researchers stress that flexibility resonates particularly with older workers. "Most older workers who say that they want to extend the number of years they remain in the labour force also say that the typical 8-hour day/5-day week doesn't work for them," said Pitt-Catsouphes. "Employers who fail to consider flexible work options may be missing important opportunities to enhance both their business performance and their employees' engagement."; Source: Boston College