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Navigating the Hump

In the United States, some 12,000 baby boomers exit the workforce every day. In Canada, the median age of “active” citizens is a stunning 43.7 years (we averaged out at 38.1 in 1991), and some 41% of the working-age population is between 45 and 64, up from 29% in 1991. The world’s workforce, as boomers hit magic mark after magic mark, is old and getting older. More senior workers are leaving the labour market earlier, more junior workers are entering it later, and the needs and policies that defined the Canadian workforce even a decade ago are suddenly and stunningly no longer applicable.

So much of the unrest is a function of the so-called “baby-boom effect,” a reference to that swell of souls born between 1946 and 1966 whose ranks represent a full third of Canada’s population and account for 41% of the labour force.

Labour shortages, skilled and unskilled, are thought to be looming with their exodus. Indeed, a 2000 survey of business and labour reps conducted by the Canadian Labour and Business Centre revealed that departing boomers were already leaving a skill-shortage legacy (prompting managers to abandon training as the sole strategy for easing the pain, and to amp up active recruitment). As Canadian economist Derek Burleton recently said, “the impact of retiring baby boomers on Canada’s total supply of labour is almost guaranteed to be dramatic.”

Just the same, there’s been precious little action taken to cultivate strategies that will sustain the labour force in a way that’ll keep it sufficiently reactive and productive in the years to come.

Enter the age of the well-managed staffing agency and its impressive powers to mitigate the evolving reality of the Canadian labour market. The toolkit of skills, experience and corporate knowledge base this country’s working public possesses is rich and valuable. The potential for it to get lost in the shuffle is worrisome.

Keen’s many years in the business and its fine-tuned approach to intelligent recruitment have seen it amass an impressive network of genuinely high-quality personnel resources. Through personal referrals, energetic networking efforts and broad-based talent searches, we’re well equipped to offer clients suffering the ebbs and flows of the modern-day workforce access to a sweet pool of exceedingly well-qualified candidates for their contract staffing and permanent staffing requirements.

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