IT Employment optimize

The technology brain drain

The hard reality is that the Baby Boomers are going to retire, and they will do it in record numbers. This means that the last of the old school, the people who have been with a company 10 years or more, is going to go. What knowledge will they take with them and how can it be replaced?

Why doesn’t anyone seem to know that the mentors of the IT department are reaching retirement age? Why isn't it more important?

The “heart and soul” of many IT departments is slowly trickling away. What is surprising is that business hardly notices and doesn’t seem to care.

I'm talking about the workers who have a significant, long-term investment in a company. The architect who designed the complex system that is still business critical, the Business Analyst who can shave days off of a project because they know exactly who to contact and exactly what to say in every situation, the programmer whose intimate knowledge of how the system works allows him to write maintenance code that is essentially bullet proof. These people tend to have two things in common -- a commitment to the company, and generally, a generation.

The Baby Boomers are retiring. In fact, the oldest are now eligible for Social Security. You would think that business would recognize that the key players are going to be gone soon and their replacements may not exist. Computer science enrollments have dropped 14% each year between 2004 and 2006. There is a definite concern that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) enrollees have declined to a level that could potentially have an impact even on Homeland Security.

You would think that the significant decline would have employers concerned. After all, these are the people who have unique knowledge of the environment. They are the first ones who are called when things go awry. But you would be wrong.

From ComputerWorld:

Although IT organizations certainly understand these workforce trends, many are not taking significant measures to mitigate the risks that the loss of intellectual capital seems to portend. Even outside of IT, many companies seem unconcerned by boomer retirements. In a 2006 survey of 488 companies conducted by Buck Consultants LLC, only 42% of the respondents said that the aging workforce was a significant issue, and 29% said it had little or no significance.

And in a nationwide study of 550 human resources managers conducted by Monster.com last summer, only 12% of the respondents said they consider knowledge retention a high priority within their companies, even though one-third said they expect at least 20% of their workforce to retire in the next decade.

The inescapable conclusion seems to be that many businesses are perfectly content to see their boomers walk out the door. And because so few organizations have taken the retirement issue seriously, companies that want to transfer knowledge from older to younger workers have few models to follow. As a result, those that are attempting to get ahead of the retirement wave are finding themselves pretty much on their own.

One common practice, to let the key individual retire and then hire them back as a consultant, doesn’t really provide much of a solution. That practice tends to obscure the issue, because consultant pay doesn’t show up in the budget as a salary cost, and companies don’t readily see the problem. Since the problem is invisible, there is no effort to find a solution.

What is your company doing to “stem the tide?” Do you have a co-worker that the company would be lost without? Are YOU the person that would take too much business intelligence out the door when you go? What do you think is the best approach to addressing this issue?

64 comments
jkameleon
jkameleon

> Are YOU the person that would take too much business intelligence out the door when you go? Might be. Hard to say. Even if I am, my bosses will to everyting to hide it from me, because my price would go up. > What do you think is the best approach to addressing this issue? This issue is not understood by business. Consequently, it goes unnoticed (the reasons are described in the quoted ComputerWorld article). Some time in the future, consequences of alleged IT brain drain might show, but with causes not understood, no lessons will ever be learnt from this. Addressing the issue will therefore almost certainly go unrewarded, even if it's successful. So, don't bother with it.

jefferyp2100
jefferyp2100

Outsourcing, insourcing and burnout are more important than retirement when it comes to braindrain. Many IT workers no longer make it past middle age before they decide to leave the industry. Others leave because there is no path for promotion in the technical fields. They must move into management if they want a raise or promotion, but skilled technical people often are not well suited for management.

carolynjmcmillan
carolynjmcmillan

There is a body of knowledge that can not be taught in any college. Experience is paramount to business sucess. I have seen out sourcing, of IT department for financial reasons. That the company later regreted. Why? Because they got what they paid for, a warm body to answer the phone. I have seen consultants come in, run rough shod over "employees" put their resposibilties on the reg employee (oversold themselves) Then they walk off with a signifigant part of the IT human resource budget. Let's face it there has not been any loyalty by employers to the old dogs in a long time. As long as there is fast talking consultants to sell them the "quick cure all" they will never realize, the value added we bring, till we are all snow birding in Florida. I just hope I have the $ to drink all the Pina Coladas I want!

chandikichamkar
chandikichamkar

The industry needs to promote the IT as a career prospect o students. They need to know that this is a fun and fulfiling career prospect.

jkameleon
jkameleon

Promoting IT careers to students is even worse than pump and dump scam. College degree is substantial investment of time, effort, and money. To make the matters worse, it can't be easily dumped, like stock market investment. Promoting certain career to young people is therefore even more despiceable than peddling bad stocks to investors. Career is a choice young people must make themselves.

chandikichamkar
chandikichamkar

The industry needs to promote the IT as a career prospect o students. They need to know that this is a fun and fulfiling career prospect.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

If you don't like it, it won't be fun, you won't be good at it so you waon't be rewarded. Besides what you are really saying is lie to them. By the time they've got a degree, 4 - 6 years have gone by. Sh1t will have changed in that time. If you've been exposed to IT and you don't already want to do it, promoting will do nothing except give us another influx of over-educated buffoons to screw the job up. Been there, done that, no desire to see the repeat.

reisen55
reisen55

It is OVER THERE in Bangalore!!! American IT workers are disappearing from corporate not because of retirement but because of RIF - reduction in force and sending jobs overseas to get cheaper, faster, better. And also ask what YOUNG talen is coming up? Very very few indeed. Why start a career in the once glamourous and fullfilling world of IT when you will be outsourced anyway. Oh, I forgot to follow my script. Would you like an email survey?

royhayward
royhayward

I have heard it for years now. All of that time I have been working for companies that have been continuing to hire new people. Sure there have been reductions in force on teams, but overall there have been open positions where I have worked for the last 5 years. (not the same position for the whole 5) By the way, if you live in Utah and are a Java developer, or have a CCNA, please drop me a line. I would love to get a referral bonus for helping us fill the slots. Yes, one of the companies I worked for did outsource some work to India. Boy was that an expensive project. If we could have done it here, we would have gladly. I know that we were glad when it was over. And we could stop scheduling conference calls at all hours.

$dunk$
$dunk$

You state that we have open positions all the time (but not the same position). Thus, it would seem that the positions get filled. Thereby, dispelling your impression that jobs are aplenty. However, let's assume that some of those jobs are open for a long time. You also state, if you are a Java Developer (or have a CCNA) then drop you a line. The problem is that you eliminate many, many great developers because they are not Java developers. How long do you think it would take for a really good developer who hasn't done Java (but C++ or C# instead) to be as good or better than you or 90% of your staff? Probably 6 months will do it. It is the short-sightedness of the hiring managers that also causes job shortages.

royhayward
royhayward

Management and the Employee's/Candidates? I am not sure that I said, "jobs are aplenty." but the need is. Job != Need. Last year we were looking for a couple of Java developers. At this time we are also looking for Java developers. Did we hire any in the last 12 months, sure. So from an HR perspective, we had an open req for an FTE and we filled it. But from a resource perspective we immediately filled out another req for another FTE with the same basic set of skills. Same thing on the network engineer/sys admin side. There have also been project managers, DBAs, config managers, integration folks and others. But I know that if your are a CCNA or a Java developer that we will have the open slot or make one if you are good enough. As for the interchangeability of development skills. I would tend to agree with you. However, our experience is that if you are truly advanced in and have no experience in that you won't stay, aren't looking, or wont' take the offer. And I don't blame them. Since my post, I have received no resumes or contacts inquiring about these jobs. And I don't expect any. I haven't been out of work for more a decade, and then it was because I got injured and the datacenter was not crutch accessible due to chaotic cabling. During that time I have had friends who have been. Here are my top 3 reasons: 1) won't relocate. 2) won't accept that an advanced skill in X does not merit advanced skill pay in Y. 3) lack of networking/job finding skills (i.e. I didn't know they were looking for months or until after they found a new job.) But despite our differences of opinion on this one issue, $dunk&, are you looking?

michele.bauer
michele.bauer

You got that right, the number of IT Tech jobs my company is sending over to India is increasing all the time.. with a huge hit this year.. so the plan is to train (during "transition") the team of young (maybe 1-2 years experience) Indian consultants. However, we know from past experience that each of them will turnover within an average of 2 years time. They'll use us as a training ground then go elsewhere over there to make more money. So there will never be a Brain Trust of our business systems and applications knowledge over there, it's just walking out the door with our next wave of RIF'd developers and production support. Why on earth should we promote IT education? Do we promote buggy whip making education? Big businesses are making IT knowledge go the same way. Out the door, but this time, it's just moving to the other side of the ocean. I wouldn't recommend IT to anyone anymore. Sad, because I too use to love my work.

$dunk$
$dunk$

If I felt my company was doing something that I found ethically wrong, like having me train my replacement (or my friends replacements) so they could fire us. Then I would certainly not do it. Yes, I would take care that from management's point of view it would appear that I was doing it, but I would certainly not being doing it to any level that would allow the end result too happen without major difficulties.

catfish182
catfish182

The reason why companies are not worried is a saturation of people that 'talk tech' but don't know tech. People have come though here where i work and some don't know anything literally while others will not admit that there are some things they don't know. There are people in my generation that have grown up with technology but don't respect it. a friend of mine needed some help on a issue which required us to make a dos boot disk. When we booted the machine i told him what commands to type in (i was on another machine). He couldn't do this as he told me he did not know DOS commands! A foundation as been built but a lot of techs now do not know how to keep that foundation solid. Not all techs but many that i have seen. We had a person come in for a interview yesterday and he felt that with 2 years as a sales person at compusa and 6 months doing desktop support meant he was ready to be a network admin. No respect for the job.

royhayward
royhayward

I'm afraid I don't see this. We looked around the office last week and did a quick poll of ages. The oldest among us is 40. The youngest if 21. We are going to have a while before we all retire. And in the last few places that I have worked, the people with Computer Science Degrees were a majority, but not overwhelming. I have a Political Science degree, (yes, I know. That is not really a 'Science') and turned my computer hobby in to a great career. I have viewed the same academic statistics and come to a very different conclusion. I have seen the decline in CS majors as a sign that people were realizing that they didn't need to major in it to do it. I would not be able to practice medicine or be and mechanical engineer with out the degree, but because of the nature of the IT industry, the degree is just less important. I am not saying that IT is easy, and anyone can do it. I am saying that it is changing and progressive to the point that sitting through a semester of will not give one much advantage in the industry over someone who just read the book and did all of the sample exercises (given a similar aptitude).

jean_guy_bureau
jean_guy_bureau

I am taking a computer course i do see that the class are getting smaller the broblem is the point an click generation that is there. it will take a diferent persopn to sit there with code that not work because you put = not == in your code. yes i am over 35 and i do like looking for that problem

guillenkma
guillenkma

You say, "We looked around the office last week and did a quick poll of ages." I hope you don't live your life accepting only what you see. The truth is that the "baby boomer" demographic is the largest work force in history and they are at or approaching retirement age. Add this to the fact that 14% less college students are entering core computer programs and you have a "huge knowledge gap". And it is getting bigger. It is possible that students are leaning towrd certificates rather than degrees but this only provides vendor specific entry level workers. What do you do about the folks that have all the knowledge of; how to gather BI, how to link non-vendor specific (legacy) systems, lessons learned from past situations. let's not reinvent the wheel here, the road was rough enough to build in the begining, let's do the maintenance now to keep it travelable.

royhayward
royhayward

I am not a boomer, and my generation is the first one to grow up with computers. Most boomers are not in IT. It wasn't available for most of them when they were making career choices. 'The truth is that the "baby boomer" demographic is the largest work force in history and they are at or approaching retirement age.' As a matter of experience, I spend an inordinate amount of time explaining and re-explaining basic concepts to people in that generation. Their retirement may lessen the load of the IT staffs around the world. I know it will lessen mine. I am not advocating completely discounting the statistics of college majors in IT related fields. I just think there could be other, less foreboding, interpretations of these statistics.

royhayward
royhayward

I think you have hit something. Maybe we should write a book about it!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

In fact for some of us it's going to be extremely lucrative. Given the way market is playing out at the moment and things like the political backlash against H1B style programs, IT costs are going to go up again. Those who know what they are doing will be in great demand. Then there will be a massive influx of over-educated numpties who listened to the career's advisor. Then the market will change. Then there will be a lot of whining and moaning about how things used to be better Then there will be a load of college types shouting not fair I've got my bit of paper where's my job. A few total thimble brains will publish books called the Death of the IT department. Any of this sound vaguely familiar? Just another swing of the pendulum.

Oracle Architect
Oracle Architect

I agree with you. And the problem isn't limited to "boomers." My wife has all sorts of knowledge regarding the systems in her organization. When she left for a year, things stopped or went completely awry. Do they value her at all? Not that you'd notice. The only thing anyone said was don't ever think of leaving again. Knowing isn't valuable. Doing isn't valuable. The mindset seems to be "we don't care, we'll get by, we always have." Look, technology isn't a necessary evil any longer. It's the heart and soul of many large organizations. Banks are insurance companies are thinly disguised technology companies. Every offering has to be backed up by the IT staff. EVERY organization of any size is in the same boat. Does anyone at the top care? Not in any meaningful way.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Or at least do the work that one does but you would be called a Fitter. When I used to consult for Mining Companies I would get called into a Remote Mine with some piece of broken equipment that was several stories tall half a mile long and 300 feet below ground with Downtime measured in Millions of $ per minute and ask the local Fitter what was required to fix the thing. If it made sense I told them to do it and on every occasion it worked. Doesn't matter how well you have been trained or just what you know in a situation like that you are going to strike machines that you've never seen or even known existed and be expected to know how to Fix them yesterday. The fitters there who know the things inside out are the real Engineers but never get the credit that they deserve. Col

royhayward
royhayward

what about the doctor? (Maybe I don't want to know the answer to that one.) Anyway, i think that you are making my point, or at least half of it. If your mining company was filled with people with BSMEs an no 'fitters' would it have been better? I think the answer is 'no'. I was appalled 8 years ago when a MCSE and no experience was a ticket to job with a good starting wage, (and I am my experience were scorned until I forked over the cash to take the dumb tests). But of course that didn't last. People that lacked the temperament and aptitude for IT were doing this thinking that this was the door to easy street. (and they made life harder for those of us that were keeping things running.) Is it not possible that we have been asking our engineers to do the job of fitters? (only replacing these with the IT equivalents.) When young people ask me for career advice, I can't say, "Well, go to college and study computers and you can be like me." Because that wouldn't make them like me at all. I do advise that they take some computer classes at a tech school or cert program, and to read and play with all of the technology they can. After that, they need to take a hard look and see if they like it. If they don't, they should get out and chose another path. But if they are hooked, they should stick with it. I don't see they day coming when a good set of skills in technology will not pay. And from the dearth of IT professionals that this article seems to be predicting, neither does anyone else.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Answering 666 questions...EVIL!!!

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Answering 666 Questions EVIL!! Sorry but I actually answered a lot more than 666 Questions I think only about 40% at best got rated one way or the other. :0 I just have got 666 Accepted Answers. :p but if this makes you happy by mistake I got another accepted answer to something that was obviously wrong so I asked to have it taken away. :^0 Col ]:)

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

is to get to be a doctor or a mecahnic you have to work on some thing real. To get that IT qualifiction, you fill in the blanks in a non critical snippet that may get used sometime, and anyone with a +ve IQ could look up anyway. There are alot more people who could do IT than is apparent, those who can do it though are propping up alot of people who apparently are qualified to do it. That's the real brain drain, effective use of IT. We've got people with ability on paper coming out of our ears, to the point where people who could be good at it, are saying f**k this, I'll go into politics and earn me some real money. :p

mpasaa
mpasaa

Do companies ever care about IT and how critical it is? I've yet to see that scenario. More often, WE are looked at as the endless money pit and only want the cool toys and software...oh well...they will realize soon enough..

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Retiring and staying that way. The moment that I can retire and play with my toys and not be handling constant calls on how to Fix something the happier I'll be. Unfortunately it's not going to happen any time soon as I'm still getting calls asking how to fix Sewing Machines and it's been a very long time since I even touched one other than immediate families members machines. The International calls on what is required to convert an existing machine to a different voltage are the worrying ones and while they have dried up somewhat I'm still getting a couple per year. So if I can still be getting asked on how to do things like this it scares the hell out of me with what will happen to Computers and just how long I'll be on the phone when I eventually retire if that day ever comes. Instead of cutting back and making my workload lighter I'm gathering more & more customers who I can't get rid of and those existing ones are relying on me far more than they did previously. Anyway I don't care I can always work for Geek Squad and not have any problems. :D Col

Dark_syde_admin
Dark_syde_admin

Right now the value of my time can be measured by how much I make per hour/week/month, whatever, and that is usually determined by how much experience/certificates/degrees/and tenure you may have. But when retirement rolls around, THEN it's time to pay the piper. You are on MY time now and you will pay for it! I can't wait to retire (30+ years from now...).

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

But as you grow older you begin to realize just how little you actually know and when you finally come to realize that others know more than me you begin to sound like me. :^0 Last time I attempted to retire in my mid 40's I was asked to return to work and I set my own price which was ridiculous in my opinion but as Senior Management was working on Obscene Salaries I thought why not get my snout in the trough as if I don't take their money some Idiot Senior Management Type will be more than willing to take it and Screw the workers more. What I couldn't believe was that they accepted my Salary without blinking an eye and I thought that I should have asked for more as I must have been robbing myself blind. :( But when you come to realize that there is much more to life than Money and you are happy with things what's it matter? Drives a lot of people crazy my complete lack of incentive to make money these days and even worse my wifes happy with the way that things are if I could dump the work and clients I could retire yesterday without a problem and be more than happy to do so. I could even get back to play with my Play Toys which have been lacking any form of attention for a very long time now and I could actually work on some of my cars and enjoy it. The last time I tried to retire it Officially lasted a whole 12 hours and then I was back at work. I've just got to stop drinking as they all take advantage of me when I've had a few too many. But what is more of a worry is the amount of time that I spend answering questions on the phone to people who ring up asking for a solution. When I work out how to charge them for this I will be able to retire permanently and not need to even get up out of bed of a morning. Of course being the contact point of Last Resort helps no end. :D Col

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

in thirty years time, I'd take a wild guess and say that could stretch to forty by then. They are already talking about upping manadatory retirement ages. The other interesting thing is the amount of ageism in IT. It will be interesting to see that backfire on them big style. If the guvmint don't tack some extra on to my sentence, I've another twenty years to go myself. I'll go earlier if I can, and anyone who wants me to come back best have deep pockets. If I stay off the scrap heap that will be near 46 years continuous employment so I'll be due a bit of R & R.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

In the States we'll be luck if we can retire at 70, let alone retire at all. With the way our government has been spending two things are going to happen: 1) Medicaid/Medicare is dead. Which means so are all hopes for "universal" healthcare 2) Social Security is dead in 10 years. Let's not forget the fiasco of the stock market (my 401k is losing money big time right now...) and the unafforability of just about everything....good times...

Tig2
Tig2

Every morning when I look in the mirror I am reminded that I am aging. I don't see that as a bad thing. The day will come when I stop working for a living and can concentrate my time and energy on other things. But I am reminded of all the times that I turned over a project at the end of a contract only to continue to get calls about various nuances of the project weeks and months later. In one notable case, the call came almost 10 years after the project close. It would seem that business doesn't care much if their aging workers retire. But how they go about filling in key skills and business acumen that only comes with time should be a concern. Let's face it, technology enrollment has dropped and it doesn't appear that it will increase any time soon. By outsourcing, we have effectively told young people to avoid technology like the plague. So what do we do when the Boomers are all gone, leaving a knowledge vacuum in their place?

bonnie_bell
bonnie_bell

Your post really struck a cord in me. I have the exact same mirror. But what always astonded me was the face that looks back never matches the one in my head. As far as tech enrollment dropping, your right but I wouldn't count the younger generation out quite yet. As our technology grows, I believe that it also becomes easier to manage. The kids now a days are just laying in wait for the next big tech discovery to peak thier interest. Things that you and I found amazing are common fair to the young. They will have thier chance to discover new things, and become as curious as we were years ago.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

manage just gives scope for further complexity. After all technology, especially in IT is about freeing up resources so you can devote them to adding further value, or possbily to discard them not leaving them about unused. Waiting for the next big tech discovery is probably right. But that's going to be AI or cybernetics, not winders 7 or Mandriva 12. It's certainly going to have to be something special to match the sort of wonder I felt building my own half adder circuit, playing space invaders, or writing my own Z80 assembler.

sharpj
sharpj

Many youngsters have no idea what an IRQ or DMA is in the first place.... the things we (grey guys) accumulated seem to be useful from time to time. If only someone would realize it and be willing to let us show those Xers and Yers that new isn't always better, and one must THINK before one can learn... gaming knowledge.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

You skipped past it because you can't spend four years in the miltary doing tech if you are an arse. I get past it because you cant spend twenty years working for multiple well known employers and be an arse. Without that experience your only chance of an in is a piece of paper that says you aren't an arse. Doesn't have to be right, after all it's for HR, and they wouldn't know it from a pre-school merit badge for finger painting. Be careful about that out of date argument. It's true to an extent, but if you take it to it's logical extreme, we are all out of date when a new version comes out. I've had that from HR muppets several times. A cellege degree should show that you understand the principles, a cert that you understand an implementation of some principles. The only thing that shows you can use the tech and apply the principles in the real world is experience.

RBFeddersen
RBFeddersen

Who cares if tech enrollment is declining? College is not a valid choice to learn tech skills. Get a 4 year degree in technology that is outdated, and get an entry level job make 40k to cover 60k of student loans? No thank you... I went to the military and left with 4 years experience in windows NT/2000/xp, exchange, cisco, etc. My earnings blow my college peers away because they have a degree and 3 years of experience, while I am on year 8. To be a successful IT person, you only need patience, a willingness to learn, and a steady stream of caffeine to keep up with it all. IT is, ironically, one of a few job fields where you can be successful without a college degree, yet is a highly skilled and technically complex field which requires special expertise. Technology just changes too rapidly for a curriculum to produce a qualified graduate.

mgray
mgray

My partner and I have long since decided that the current North American mindset could well do itself in (when compared to the mindset of staff overseas which is often very different and refreshingly fun to work with. Brings back fond memories of years ago working with North American new hires who wanted to make a difference and the "careerists" who also loved work, were happy to pass along what they knew, and also wanted to make the world a better place. Gee, I sound out of place with all my glowing words about enjoying work and my colleagues and those who hired me for my consultancy work.[Many of those people are still friends and correspond with us on a regular basis some 25+ years later!] ... now I can get off my soapbox and back to work

HStoller
HStoller

The existing staff needs to take the bull by the horns and groom their successors. It really should not be up to their managers to instruct them to do this.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

1) Existing Staff have time to do it 2) Existing staff and new staff are employed at the same time 3) Existing Staff are perfectly cheerful about training up their replacements so they can go on welfare. Other than these 'minor difficulties', you are quite correct......

minottid
minottid

Sorry - perhaps this mindset indicates a bad attitude on my part (or perhaps just a baby-boomer self-preservation response) but I am NOT handing over the knowledge that took me years to acquire to some younger new hire who is being paid MORE than I am, but who is totally incompetent for (and non-functional in) the position for which he/she was hired.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

There was no need to mention that they were paid MORE. What matters is that if you are shown the door you are going to be paid less. If they are paid more than you, you are doing something wrong, even if it's only under selling yourself.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

A Gen X or Gen Y rock star to wear 50 hats. While that may be true, I know a lot of guys that are the rock stars, burn out and go into easier professions....

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

is more automation and more outsourcing. plus more clamor for h1-b and L type visas. And companies will try to get around clampdowns on illegal immigration.

thutzler
thutzler

In by gone days, campanies promoted from within, not true today. Everyone knows that to really move ahead in your carrer you will have to jump ship several times, because companies do not give enough incentives in the form of raises and promotions to match what you can get by going to a new company. Further, I think companies are willing to accept this as when you leave they go back to paying someone at the bottome of the pay grade. It is cheaper. Because as a culture businesses no longer promote from within, managers and senior employees no longer need to "groom" someone to take their place as part of the process of moving up the lader. Manager and seniors no longer really even know how to pass along their knowledge, and if they did so they risk giving up an advantage that will keep them employeed until the pention kicks in and they can retire. I am really not surprised that businesses are not concerned about this issue. Since everytime an employee jumps ship to move up the career ladder, they loose knowledge, and the company has to train someone new to do the job. They accept this as a part of how they do business. Never mind the fact that it is those same folks who are about to retire that train the new guys.

Oracle Architect
Oracle Architect

There's really no reason to be surprised. And there's reason to be concerned. My generation (I'm an elder of the geek tribe) is retiring and we're being replaced with mercenaries. Every recruiter tells me about money, not about challenge or corporate culture or the opportunity to make a real difference. My point is that mercenaries have replaced the folks who cared. And businesses will get what they paid for, mercenary junk maintained by the next band of roving mercenaries. Ask us to stay involved. Couple of days a week. Maybe a week every month. I know folks who've stayed where they are out of loyalty to the other people, to the mission, to the consumers of the service or product. It's not always about money. Not even close!

michelinel
michelinel

I was most heartened watching the Oscars to see Robert Boyle, who is still called out to consult at the venerable age of 97! Grey power, here we come !

Jack
Jack

"Further, I think companies are willing to accept this as when you leave they go back to paying someone at the bottom of the pay grade. It is cheaper. Because as a culture businesses no longer promote from within, managers and senior employees no longer need to "groom" someone to take their place as part of the process of moving up the ladder." All the financial stakeholders from the stock market all the way down to the lowest level of management are complicit because everyone mentioned is rewarded for maximizing the short term bottom line which just means income-costs=profit. The whole notion of building for the long term went out in the 70s. Warren Buffet is the last of a breed that is actually looking at the "long term" (more than 5 years) condition of companies. He put his money where his mouth is. Very few corporate anything think anymore about leaving something behind that lasts or is better than what they found. Shareholders want to see up ticks in share prices. CEOs are set to either earn their short term multi-million dollar bonuses in the short term for serving the short term interests of majority shareholders on the board or ride their golden parachutes to un-earned millions. Everyone down stream takes their cues from the top. Nobody is a long term stake holder except the people actually creating things. And they are punished for loving what they do and taking the long view by being treated as expendable cogs in a giant machine. Most everyone knows better than to allow the corporation to become an extension of their identity or their pride. Those that don't are ground into submission by an impersonal production process that can't see beyond year-end bonuses.

pauls
pauls

Jack&Jill are spot on here. The real enemy in any business that wants to become great is short term thinking. Many projects that don't have an ROI of two years (or less) are out the window, because those who make the decisions know full well that they will be elsewhere in 2 years when the benefits are realised. We have become a society basd on instant gratification and where that is the case we cannot expect to achieve great things. Thnk big, plan and be good to your mother.

jonsaint
jonsaint

it's also the trouble-shooting skills sharpened by years of practice and the writing skills we will take with us. I am appalled at the poor writing done all around me by my juniors. Couple lousy communication skills, short attention spans, and lack of appreciation for the mainframes that still manage the firm's money and all I can think is these knuckle-heads allowing their IT assets to walk out permanently must not remember what life was like before IT. Personally I think they all plan to cash their obscene stock options and be far away when the fallout from their decisions hits the air movement devices.

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

Tricia, we have the same amount of gray hair (and the same amount of color hiding it -- but a different shade), and lord knows that we aren't getting any younger. However, I still have days when I feel like I'm 12. Yeah, it's a little awkward even now. I've been with TechRepublic for 9 years (I gave them "my good years," as I like to say). While retirement isn't anywhere close on my radar, I do think about layoffs (shocker), and what companies do when they "accidentally" lay off star performers. Does any of this sound familiar? :-) I still put in 110% every day, try to make myself invaluable to TR, but am I indispensable? It would be incredibly foolish to rely on such a false sense of job security. Would TR survive without me? Certainly. However, I hope that I help make it a better place while I'm here.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

writing our own ticket for ridiculous sums of money. :D Worked for all those cobol types in Y2K I've left my calendar free in 2015 for when C Date runs out (Int32 number of seconds since 1970). Someone's got to plan ahead in IT.....

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

Bad planing on their part does not constitute an emergency on ours. Although, it could constitute a money-making opportunity. :)

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

Agree to work on the problem only if they sign a long-term contract.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

I was wondering when someone would mention that one. Grrrr.. it will probably be hyped then claimed it was a hoax, like Y2K

Casey.Strickling
Casey.Strickling

But you don't have to wait for the marked to shift. Look to the business side of the house. There are good people available in mid-career looking for change. They know the business side, you know their history and can judge their potential. What is a pay cut to some is an increase to others. Be not afraid.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

So chaps we'll just do a search for all the date types.....

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

who exports the display format or you have to scrape it. Got a file the other day export from excel I think. 99/99/99 format all the way through, so I had a one in four chance of guessing what it was... Nothing better than having to read through through an entire file so you can guess which date format it might be using.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

Most of the places it's display data only, but STILL... ****BANGS HEAD ON WALL****

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I mentioned it to my bosses to see if they want me to fix some of them en passant as it were and they said oh all the software that uses that will be gone by then...... Anybody spotted that two digit year is coming back by the way.....

Tig2
Tig2

Check my blog later this week. Bout time that discussion came up...