Here we are in a world with extreme skill shortages in an international skills race where skills and experience carries a high price tag and we are literally watching the best tradesmen and professionals in the world walk off into the retirement sunset.

We aren’t even trying to harness this critical resource to help train the younger more inexperienced workers.

I am constantly amazed at how management waves goodbye to someone who has been the backbone of their business for decades and then complain that the ‘greener’ professionals have not got the where-with-all to do the job.

These ‘Baby Boomer’ professionals are mostly between the ages of 55 and 70 years of age and most of them can’t work out why they are being pensioned off. Frankly so am I!

Understandably, there may be some restrictions in certain industries however I haven’t yet seen anything that cannot be overcome. Some industries are suffering chronic shortages and yet it has not dawned on them to use this rich resource to their advantage.

I learnt my trade from a 60 and 65 year old and have been cited many times to be the best at what I do, and this is why – I learnt from the masters. I learnt to fly from a 71 year old who I believe was sharper than me! My doctor was 75 before he decided that he didn’t want to work anymore so he hung up his stethoscope.

When I fly with an airline anywhere in the world I would like the reassurance that whoever is in the cockpit has the experience to get me to where I am going safely. It would also be reassuring to know that he was giving the benefit of this experience to a younger pilot at the same time. In the same way when I get my new home built I would like to have the construction supervised by someone with many years experience.

So, where does that leave our younger generation who cannot gain employment because they do not have sufficient experience.

A tradesman/professional is an equal combination of two things, qualifications and experience. Without one of these two components you cannot gain employment in any given industry. The latter is where there is a huge gap internationally.

CEOs and management need to understand the following formulas:



The biggest crime of the last two decades is encouraging our young people to gain an education in industries where they will never find work.

Author: Ralph Hunter