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In a story that hints at the kinds of problems that private industry will face in just a few years, the Washington Post reports that US federal agencies could lose as many as 25 percent of their employees by 2012, mostly through retirements by baby boomers – and that this trend could severely compromise the government's ability to deliver basic services.

And, the Post writes in a sentence that could reflect a lot of industries, not just the federal government, "there are growing concerns that the government may be at a disadvantage in competing for talent, especially among young people, because of its slow and cumbersome hiring practices."

KC's View:
As the retirement wave approaches, it isn’t just the federal government that has to be concerned (and I'm pretty sure that there are plenty of people out there who think that a federal government with 25 percent fewer employees is a good thing).

The same problem is going to affect a lot of businesses, and retailers especially have to worry about how they are going to attract young people since they also are often at a disadvantage in attracting new talent.

Interestingly, I got an email yesterday from an MNB user who is thrilled with the incipient retirement of an entire generation…and it is relevant to this story:

I am tired of them standing in my way and taking up space. I am 46 years old, been in the business all my life … I have been stuck behind these boomers all my career.

Retire and get out of my way. I am ready to lead. Now that the Boomers are going away, perhaps there is opportunity. Many of these Boomers have looted companies and run them into the ground for their personal gain.

Pretty cynical. But maybe it points to a larger problem that the industry needs to address.