September 10, 2012 // By: Christiane Pütter // The Recruiting Crisis
So skilled young talents are rare – especially in the IT industry. Fred Marchlewski, managing director of the Talent & Organization division at Accenture, explains: “It is extremely difficult to get young, well-trained computer scientists excited about working with thirty-year-old technology. I know of a lot of industries where this is the case – such as the insurance industry.” The answer is obvious: Companies have to become more flexible and retain older employees. “We know from surveys conducted among the 50-plus generation that a lot of older employees would like to stay on longer at their company but that there aren’t many incentives for them to do so,” explains Marchlewski.
Older employees criticize remuneration and working time models as well as possible career options and training measures. “This is one of the main reasons for general dissatisfaction among older employees. But given the demographic change, it would be foolhardy to neglect these employees and continue sending them into early retirement,” notes the Accenture manager.
Strack takes a similar view. “Quite often, companies still need to learn how to deal with an aging workforce,” he says. Yet older employees, especially those in the IT sector, have a lot of experience and expertise. Who else knows how to handle software that was programmed in COBOL, for example? “It is essential that companies retain this knowledge,” Strack points out. Specifically, that means introducing tandem solutions – where young and old work together – and at the same time creating knowledge databases. Both Marchlewski and Strack call upon companies to provide opportunities for advancement and upskilling programs for people over 50. After all, these people still have many working years ahead of them.