How will your port ride the wave of the demographic tsunami?



Christene Best, Vice-President – Sales & Marketing, Klein Systems Group Ltd., Burnaby, Canada.


We’ve all heard it’s coming – that epochal sea change in demographics that will see the Baby Boomer cohort retire over the next 20 years, to be replaced by the Busters, Gen-Xers, Echoes and ultimately, Millennials. It is commonly held that the Baby Boom started in 1946 (although some demographers say 1947), so the first Boomers will hit age 65 this year. In some countries, Boomers make up over one-third of the work force. Why should you care? If your port already has a state-of-theart port management information system (MIS) based on current technology that supports effective knowledge transfer, efficient workflows and easy access to information, then you can skip this article. If not, read on.

Maritime traffic organizations and ports have legacy information systems that rely on the expertise of a limited number of long-tenured
workers. For them, the challenge is to get all that key information out of the graying heads of key people. Expertise regarding business processes, business rules, customers, partners and organizational knowledge needs to be shared, not just with the next generation of maritime workers but also across the organization. This facilitates rapid, fact-based decision-making. Implementing current technology, such as the Klein Systems Group Ltd. (KSG) KleinPort system, allows ports to reduce key person risk for the organization.

Recent economic realities mean that some Boomers are delaying retirement, but without doubt, organizations will face significant changes in their workforces as the Boomers ease out. As a result, you will have very old workers side by side with very young ones.

Since the younger generational cohorts are smaller than the Baby Boom was, get ready to compete for talent. Google ‘labour shortages in next 10 years’ and see how many academics and government agencies are predicting a shortfall in the numbers of qualified workers in practically any industry you can name. Depending on your source, there could be 10-17 million unfilled positions in the US alone over the next 10 years. Europe will face similar challenges, particularly in finding skilled replacement workers.

Qualified talent from the tech savvy Gen-X and Echo cohorts is more likely to be attracted to organizations where they get to use the latest commercial technology, as opposed to older legacy systems.

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