Many CFOs Unconcerned About Boomers Retiring

March 25, 2014 ( – Only about one-third (31%) of chief financial officers (CFOs) are concerned about losing Baby Boomer employees to retirement over the next few years.

A recent survey by staffing firm Robert Half finds that 63% of financial executives report being unconcerned with Boomer employees retiring, this despite the fact that figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show one-fifth of the U.S. work force has either passed or is nearing retirement age.

For the CFOs who do express concern over these numbers, leadership (39%) and legacy knowledge (23%) were cited as the greatest potential losses to their organization.

In terms of their level of concern with losing Boomer employees to retirement, especially over the next two years, the survey finds:

  • Not at all concerned (42%);
  • Somewhat unconcerned (21%);
  • Somewhat concerned (25%);
  • Very concerned (6%); and
  • Don’t know/no answer (6%).

The survey also asks CFOs what the greatest potential loss to their business would be due to the retirement of Boomer employees. As previously mentioned, the top two responses were leadership (39%) and legacy knowledge (23%). Responses also include the loss of:

  • Functional skills (15%);
  • Nontechnical attributes (e.g., soft skills) (15%);
  • Contacts outside of the organization (5%);
  • Other (1%); and
  • Don’t know/no answer (3%).

“Although losing Baby Boomers to retirement may not be a universal concern yet, employers, as a best practice, should prepare themselves for the exit of experienced professionals from the work force,” says Paul McDonald, Robert Half senior executive director in Menlo Park, California. “Mentorship and succession plans can be effective means of passing on legacy knowledge, and retaining and developing a company’s next generation of leaders.”

McDonald adds that businesses of all sizes can benefit by implementing programs that allow professionals to transition into retirement and remain engaged with the firm. “Even as they move closer to retirement, many people want to continue contributing their skills and expertise. Companies can take advantage of working with these employees on a consulting basis, who can in turn train other staff members on both the needed technical and nontechnical attributes,” he says.

The survey was developed by Robert Half and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on interviews with more than 2,100 CFOs from a random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. markets.