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Should You Worry About a Talent Gap?


There’s been a lot of debate about the looming “talent shortage”. Some experts predict a major shortfall in skilled and reliable workers as the boomers head for retirement. Meanwhile others say this threat is being overplayed, due in part to the likelihood that many boomers will continue to work at least part time after the age of 65.

Should small business owners be nervous? The fact is that boomer business owners will start retiring-and they need to be planning for succession. But many entrepreneurs put off those sorts of decisions, not wanting to face the reality of retiring or not wanting to create the drama that often comes with anointing a successor

That is a huge mistake. That bottom line is it is never easy to find a talented executive to succeed a longtime CEO-and with concerns over a talent shortage there's no reason to think it's going to get any easier.

One upside to all of this: recruiting experts say it will increase opportunity for women and minority executives. Francie Dalton, an executive coach in Columbia, MD who works on succession issues puts it this way:

Survival means diversity. We are serving a larger community globally and you have to have diversity at the top. Even if they wanted to, people won't have the luxury of choosing the gender or race of the person replacing them. It is inevitable that we'll see more diversity.

Still, replacing a founder or longtime leader is never easy. Dalton says many CEO's who try to step in to the shoes of those “legacy leaders” end up failing. That's just one more reason for entrepreneurs sneaking up on retirement need to get serious about picking and grooming a successor. Time is ticking.


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