More than 40% of chief executives around the world say their companies now take into account an aging work force in their long-term business plans, according to a recent survey by Watson Wyatt Worldwide.
Evidently, there is good reason for doing so. Watson Wyatt's survey found 88% of the 773 respondents see a link between workers' age and their productivity. Specifically, as a worldwide average, chief executives believe productivity peaks at an average of 43 years of age. This level of productivity is sustained for an average of 15 years before falling off, the CEOs said.
"The leading edge of the baby boom generation is fast approaching the age when executives say productivity begins to fall off," reports George Bailey, global director in San Francisco of Watson Wyatt's Human Capital Group. "But early retirement en masse for this huge demographic group isn't an option. Companies cannot afford to lose so much talent and experience all at once, especially when there are comparably fewer younger workers to take their place," he said.
One innovative way companies can raise their work force's productivity is through flexible work arrangements. According to a different Watson Wyatt study, in the next two to three years, 90% of U.S. employers will allow employees to work from home, and 75% will institute job-sharing policies.