MENLO PARK, Calif. (1/11/08)--Baby boomer retirements will have the greatest impact on the work force over the next decade, according to a survey of 150 senior executives with the 1,000 largest U.S. companies. Credit unions will want to take steps soon to address the issue. About 47% of senior executives surveyed viewed pending retirements as the biggest factor affecting their businesses going forward, according to a survey by Robert Half International, a staffing services firm specializing in accounting and finance (PRNewswire Jan. 10). “The looming retirement of baby boomers has captured the attention of business leaders who are concerned about retaining the expertise of their most tenured employees,” said Max Messmer, chairman/CEO of the firm and author of Human Resources Kit for Dummies. “Fortunately, many baby boomers are considering working past the traditional retirement age to stay active and continue earning. “Businesses that accommodate valued staff members who are not ready for retirements but seek new work arrangements, such as flexible or part-time schedules, are best able to keep top performers,” he added. “Consulting arrangements allow experienced individuals to remain challenged professionally, while maintaining the flexibility to pursue outside interests.” The 2007-2008 Credit Union Environmental Scan for Strategic Planning (E-scan), published by the Credit Union National Association, also notes that fears of a labor shortage are being fueled by pending retirements of baby boomers. “The obvious near-term solution is to take steps to retain those who you want to keep working,” the E-scan said. “But nearly 80% of companies surveyed haven’t taken any steps to accommodate older workers, even though more than one third of the companies agree that the aging workforce will have a significant impact on them, according to a MetLife study. “Whether credit unions will face labor shortages in coming years will depend on how well they groom employees for management and key positions,” the E-scan continued. “We’re living in a knowledge economy in which employees’ experience and skills determine whether a company succeeds or fails.” Ongoing training and development are crucial to keeping a credit union competitive, the E-scan concluded.