America's corporate brain drain accelerates

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Did you know that the United States is in the beginning stages of a major brain drain? Baby boomers are starting to retire, and along with them goes a whole lot of knowledge. Experts predict that we're going to have a serious talent shortage very soon because of the retirement of so many experienced workers.

There are about 76 million baby boomers poised to retire, and companies are looking for ways to lure them into staying longer. While we're used to hearing about companies getting rid of older workers who cost them a lot of money in terms of higher salaries and more expensive health care costs, the reality in corporate America is that these older workers are desperately needed.

Companies historically haven't been proactive in getting older workers to train younger workers to do their jobs. They're finally realizing how critical this knowledge transfer may be to their businesses long-term, and management is starting to make arrangements for older workers to work more closely with the younger employees.

One key to managing this transition may be in offering baby boomers more flexibility as they transition into retirement. Studies show that many older Americans would like to continue working some, but would like flexibility and a fair amount of leisure time blended into their work lives. Companies that find a way to meet these requirements will likely have an easier time getting boomers to stick around (at least part time) and teach others what they know.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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