Finding the right people to fill open positions is a growing challenge for employers all across Minnesota. It is a very serious issue aging care providers, who are faced with a double whammy of large numbers of retiring employees and a smaller pool from which to draw younger employees. This is especially concerning, because the senior portion of our population will continue to grow as Baby Boomers retire, and more and more people will need aging care services.
“We have had several good-paying positions open for some time,” said Christine Bakke of St. Benedict’s Senior Community. “We need to solve the shortage of eligible applicants in the short-term, but we also need to look for long-range solutions to this workforce issue because it’s not going away in the next 5 years.”
Minnesota, along with much of the industrialized world, is going through an unprecedented demographic shift. A large bubble in the population of those born following World War II is starting to turn 65 and declining birth rates over the past half century mean there are fewer workers to replace them.
Here in Minnesota, 60,000 people turned 65 last year, another 60,000 are turning 65 this year and this will continue through at least 2030. By 2030, 25 percent of the Minnesota adults will be 65 or older.
Employers, state leaders and educators are searching for ways to meet both the short-term and long-term workforce needs. Technical and two-year college degrees are one way to help quickly fill positions left vacant by the large number of retirees and dearth of new applicants. Starting teens on a career track earlier though high school classes is another way.
“We’re working with educators, legislators and others across the state for ways to help more young Minnesotans find their way into rewarding careers in senior services,” said Christine. “We need to work together to find a solution to provide young people good-paying jobs and provide older Minnesotans the care they need and deserve.”
A series of articles in the St. Cloud Times is examining ways to address this shortage of workers, which has serious implications for our health, our economy and our communities.
Check out the FaceAging MN fact sheet to find out more about Minnesota’s dramatic demographic shift and what it means for all of us.
Facing Aging MN is a statewide campaign to raise awareness about the issues that accompany the reality of a rapidly aging society.