It's no secret that baby boomers are retiring later in life. According to the Population Reference Bureau, a growing share of Americans are working beyond their 65th birthdays, which is a trend that started about 25 years ago and is largely linked to financial security.

In our 2017 Salary Survey, we've found that what is happening in the larger U.S. workforce is certainly true for those managing various aspects of health care settings as they gather more years in the field. 

Twenty-nine percent of the survey's respondents have 25 or more years in management/supervisory positions, holding steady with data from 2015. Also, 31 percent have more than 25 years just in health care management. While the baby boomers' delay in retirement isn't a problem in and of itself, some have expressed that finding replacements for these veterans who hold a wealth of knowledge may prove to be difficult.

In a recent report on succession planning for health care facility professionals, Tim Adams, FASHE, CHFM, CHC, director of member professional development for the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE), says, “Many health care organizations are aware of what’s happening, but they aren’t preparing. Many are taking a ‘we’ll deal with it when we get there’ approach, which is a mistake — kind of like buying a lottery ticket is not a good retirement plan.”

Fortunately, the report lists four steps that health care facility departments can take to ensure the continued success of their organizations.

  • Examine positions that are critical to the success of the department now and five to 10 years from now, and define the competencies required for those positions.
  • Assess current staff to determine who has the desired skill sets or possesses the potential to develop them with training, certification and education.
  • Provide training and education of employees with potential to move into key positions down the road.
  • Assess outside talent and develop recruitment strategies.

According to the 2017 Salary Survey, 35 percent of respondents report having a succession plan either in place or under development. For those who want to get a plan underway to ensure the success of their organizations for years to come, a new resource developed by ASHE, "Succession Planning: Preparing for the Future of Your Facility and Your Career," is a good place to start. 

Survey results