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Navigating The Retirement Wave In The Public Sector

Navigating The Retirement Wave In The Public Sector
The Impact of Retirement on Our Public Sector Workforce

What is the impact of retirement in the public sector and the downstream attraction and retention of quality talent within our workforce? In 10 years, more people will be over 65 in the US than under. In several major US cities, the public sector workforce comprises almost 60% of employees within three (3) years of retirement age. 


As more and more experienced professionals reach retirement age, we face the challenge of ensuring a smooth transition while maintaining the high standards of excellence that have come to define our organization. The loss of these individuals, with their vast knowledge, expertise, and institutional memory, poses a potential gap that we must actively address.

The Challenge and Its Unique Implications for the Public Sector

In the public sector, this impact is greater because the average age of an employee in government is over 45, with 3 of 4 government workers being 35 and over with an average tenure of just under 7 years.  Meanwhile, in the private sector, the average tenure is about 3.7 years, and the average age is around 39, with 3 in 5 being over 35. This average in the public sector continues to push upward as younger workers are harder to attract and positions become increasingly difficult to fill, which forces many public employees to retire later. 


How do organizations attract younger talent, and more importantly, how do organizations plan for the coming retirement avalanche?

Tackling the Challenge - Strategies for Success

 Here are some ways we can tackle this challenge together:


  1. Knowledge Transfer and Succession Planning: A robust knowledge transfer program must encourage retirees to share their expertise with their successors and the wider team. This will ensure that critical knowledge and skills are passed on seamlessly, maintaining continuity within the workforce.

  2. Mentoring Programs: Establishing effective mentoring programs will enable seasoned professionals to guide and develop the next generation of leaders. This peer-to-peer transfer of knowledge will be invaluable in grooming talent and ensuring the sustainability and flow of information through organizations.

  3. Embracing Technology: The investment in digital platforms and tools that can facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration among different teams. Capturing and storing institutional knowledge electronically will aid in preserving essential information and making it easily accessible to all. Utilization of technology will also help with communication amongst the varying age groups across organizations. Each generation has preferences for how they want to communicate; technology can aid in normalizing the transfer of information and act as a storage repository. 

  4. Promoting Lifelong Learning: By offering training and professional development opportunities, we allow existing employees to continually develop their skills and prepare them for future leadership roles. This will also attract new talent and create a culture of continuous improvement within your organization.

  5. Attracting New Talent: Adjusting recruitment strategies to focus on attracting young professionals passionate about public service is crucial in building a pipeline of new talent who will thrive within an organization as they navigate the retirement wave. Outlining the organizational mentorship and succession planning programs can also ease the onboarding process and ultimately attract more talent, knowing they have a path to success and people around them who value their worth.


Recognizing the value of experienced knowledge while embracing new talent's energy and fresh perspectives is paramount. This creates an environment that encourages collaboration, growth, and continuous improvement.


All this falls flat if organizations don't encourage active participation in knowledge transfer initiatives, mentoring programs, and personal development opportunities.  There should be incentives not just to "train" people but to guide and model behavior.  All it takes is engagement with the quiet "leaders," once they are on board, others tend to "get in the boat." 

Closing Thoughts: Charting the Course for the Future

Attracting talent and then keeping that talent engaged is the current (and likely future) “top of mind” at leadership levels across industries. In the latest earnings call from Workday from November 28, 2023 (Meridian deploys Workday ERP - full disclosure), CEO Carol Eschenbach commented that “talent continues to be a top C-suite priority.”  He said, “Leaders are turning to Workday to help them reskill and upskill their workforce, all while delivering a great employee experience that helps them reduce attrition and ultimately drives productivity.” 


This outlines the key role bullet #3 above, embracing technology, which plays an important role internally in reducing mundane tasks and focusing on high-fidelity work and externally in attracting talent that views potential employers as “cutting edge.”  The current crop of workers has high expectations for the tools they use, expecting them to function like the social tools used daily for media, gaming, and purchasing. And more.


Broadly, talent wars have always existed, but what attracts and retains employees goes beyond tech and perks. We’ll explore topics such as work from home, the impact of AI, the multi-generational workforce, and more in future posts.


To learn more about Meridian Partners’ expanded portfolio of services for the public sector, please visit www.mp.team or contact Workday VP of Sales, Broc Zautner, at bzautner@mp.team for more information and to discuss an assessment of your situation.


About Meridian Partners:

Founded in 2002, Meridian Partners is a leading provider of ERP deployment solutions, across multiple vertical markets. With a proven track record of delivering innovative, scalable, and reliable technology solutions, Meridian Partners helps organizations streamline operations, drive digital transformation, and achieve business objectives.


Blog Post Author:

Broc Zautner Image

Broc Zautner

VP, Workday Sales

+1 (262) 573 - 5930

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