Quickly rising and about to strike, the tidal wave of demographic pressure in the United States is a formidable threat to the health of American business. Employers are already passing up opportunities to expand their businesses because they do not have, and cannot find, workers who can handle what is required. Although this demographic tidal wave has been stirring for some time, few employers have strategies to deal with it. Not surprising when Wharton's Director of Human Resources Peter Cappelli points out that about two-thirds of companies do no planning for work force issues at all.

There is a decreasing number of available fit, educated, trained employees with a strong work ethic. While knowing how to attract, manage and retain employees has always been a key component of sustaining growth and high productivity, this is the only way to grow profitably in times of scarcity.

A good example is automobile technicians, a job that will never be outsourced. The rapidly changing nature of the job, coupled with the need for highly technical skills and a negative stigma associated with this career choice have resulted in a shortage of 35,000 to 60,000 technicians per year, according to Richard White, senior vice president, marketing and member relations for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). The situation will only be exacerbated in the next decade when boomer-generation technicians enter retirement, with over one-half of the top technicians expected to retire in the next 10 years.

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