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When Boomers say bye-bye

Ann Bednarz | Jan. 7, 2014
A lousy economy led many Baby Boomers to put off retiring, but companies shouldn't count on such delays to anchor their IT workforce planning initiatives. Now's the time to plan for the retirement of key talent — and the legacy systems they built — before those pros leave the workforce.

Nowadays, professionals have added a phase to their work lives, says Matthew Ripaldi, senior vice president at Modis. Many adults go from working full time, to a phased retirement, to a full retirement.

"There are certain industries that I think are better equipped for that, and technology is one of them," Ripaldi says. "We work with a lot of contractors and independent consultants, and a lot of the work that we do is on a project basis."

Working as a contractor or independent consultant gives people the flexibility to take breaks between assignments and to choose to work in different settings. For someone who may have spent 20 years working for one company, that variety can be rewarding, Ripaldi says. "Technology is a great industry for the mature worker," he says.

Retirement-age workers have also learned invaluable management skills that aren't tied to any one, particular technology but can apply to any project that requires scheduling, design, procurement, and oversight. Technologies come and go, but solid technology management concepts remain important, Hidding says. If older workers take on a part-time or project-based role, "they can continue to be involved, continue to contribute to the company, and continue to share things they've learned along the way," he says.

Talk to your human resources department and find out what options are available, suggests UNH's Young. "There are many ways to creatively and successfully extend the investment in an experienced worker who is at or near retirement, ranging from delayed retirement to transitioning to part-time or hourly arrangements," Young says.

A part-time or project-based arrangement can also benefit the company. "If there's still some [economic] uncertainty, they may not want to increase their fulltime headcount. Yet the work still needs to get done," Ripaldi says.


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