Sep 28, 2005 (11:09 AM EDT)
IBM To Help Companies Cope With Aging Workforces

Read the Original Article at InformationWeek

IBM has announced new consulting services for organizations facing the loss of baby-boomers as they near retirement age.

"The aging population will be one of the major social and business issues of the 21st Century, and companies worldwide are starting to examine what this means in terms of skills, knowledge and growth," Mary Sue Rogers, global leader of IBM Business Consulting Services Human Capital Management group said in a statement released Wednesday. "The scale of this age-driven change will alter the way work and knowledge are managed within companies moving forward."

By 2010, the number of U.S. workers between the ages of 45 and 54 will increase by 21 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of 55- to 64-year-olds is expected to grow by 52 percent, while the number of 35- to 44-year-olds will drop by 10 percent.

The generation named for a surge in the birth rate after World War II, is expected to impact virtually every aspect of life as the millions in its ranks retire, collect benefits and rely more on health care services. The federal government expects the economic burden to worsen in most developed countries.

The services announced Wednesday are just the latest in Big Blue's ongoing efforts to put its massive computing and consulting capabilities to work on the problems arising as people born from 1946 to 1964 approach their golden years. IBM consultants, cultural anthropologists, researchers and social scientists will help employers analyze and understand the impact of their aging workforce, while developing strategies to cope.

IBM reports that employers risk losing the competitive advantage of having skilled workers in a global economy and many haven't identified which skills they will lose. Others are preparing by evaluating their workforces, rethinking the management of internal knowledge, optimizing people-based processes, and examining globally integrated business models.

Through advanced analytics, strategies and methodologies, IBM plans to assess employee skill sets and develop mitigation strategies. The company promises to help organizations retain employees, enhance productivity, transfer knowledge and adapt business processes based on open standards.

It will use: Maturing Workforce Diagnostic, Component Business Modeling, Learning Alignment and Learning Effectiveness Measurement, Performance Measurement Analytics, Talent Management and Succession and Workforce Evolution Modeling.

For worker productivity and retention, IBM researchers are building on developing technologies to produce software, hardware and services for workers with vision, cognitive or hand limitations.

Consultants are also offering to help foster a culture and environment that encourages older workers to stay beyond traditional retirement age and help train the next generation. Methods include: Employee Jams, Knowledge Capture and Sharing services, Management Development Services, On Demand Workplace Employee Portals, Services Sciences Management and Engineering, Social Network Analysis, Learning Business Transformation Outsourcing, Strategic and Cultural Change, and Workforce Development Solutions.

The company will also offer: Business Performance Management, Business Transformation Outsourcing, and Strategic Outsourcing.

IBM has partnered with Cognos to help with monitoring, analysis and transitioning through the pending demographic changes. It is seeking other companies for additional partnerships.

It is also urging government, health care industry experts and other groups to get ahead of the problem.