Senior IT Staff Want to be Courted Before They Retire

By Brittany Ballenstedt

August 29, 2013

The federal government is not alone in its concern and planning for a mass exodus of retiring baby boomers, particularly those in IT jobs. 

IDG News Service reports that as 10,000 U.S. baby boomers will turn 65 each day until 2030, the IT field is among those that must make transition plans that allow these seasoned workers to train, mentor and pass along their knowledge. 

In fact, many companies are initiating retirement conversations with more seasoned IT staff early in hopes that doing so will increase the likelihood that those workers will stay on in some capacity past retirement.

Businesses must develop a structured plan that explains to employees “how do we retain you because you’re so valuable but at the same time give you the flexibility you need, Matthew Ripaldi, senior vice president at IT staffing firm Modis, told IDG.

The federal government has been planning for the potential brain drain that could result from looming mass retirements. In June, the Office of Personnel Management released proposed regulations to allow federal employees to take a “phased retirement,” enabling would-be retirees to work a part-time schedule while beginning to draw prorated retirement benefits. 

Advanced planning by agencies will be critical for retaining more seasoned workers in IT and cybersecurity, where the vast majority of the workforce is over age 40, with most being closer to the retirement age threshold. Many experts have cited a need for knowledge transfer and mentorship opportunities, particularly as legacy systems skills are still necessary in many cases.

The key element in rolling out phased retirements will be if and how agencies actually leverage the program. As the IDG article points out, agencies may have to court these senior IT workers before they retire. 

Is the phased retirement program an attractive benefit as you transition into retirement? What does your agency need to do to keep your interest in serving in a part-time capacity? 

By Brittany Ballenstedt

August 29, 2013