Ask A Recruiter: Succession Planning

An Owner/Manager of an Edmonton based company recently asked us about succession planning:

I have owned and managed my own company for the last 15 years, we have a team of 60 and some senior people have been with the organization since the beginning. How urgent is the need for developing a succession plan and what trends have you seen in the industry?”

We threw this one over to our own President and Co-Founder – Cam Macmillan. Throughout his far-reaching career, Cam has managed manufacturing teams in North America, retail crews, government teams with an international scope, and professional services organizations in Western Canada. 

In the recruiting business we are generally a bit ahead of the curve in spotting trends in hiring and the general employment market. What are we seeing?  The Boomers are starting to leave the workforce in record numbers.  Succession planning will be huge for government, big business and owner managed companies.  Experts, such as David Foot of “Boom, Bust, and Echo”, have been calling for action for years.

As of this year, for the first time, Canada has more people over the age of 65 than under 15. The age group that now encompasses the boomer generation – 50 to 69 – makes up 27 per cent of the population, compared with 18 per cent in that age group two decades ago. The number of people over 65, the traditional retirement age in this country, make up 16 per cent of the population – double their proportion in 1971 (Globe and Mail).

Experts also agree that mature Western economies could overcome the growth headwinds from their aging demographics by stepping up innovation and productivity. To expand their per-worker capacity, companies can apply technology, invest in upgrading their facilities and utilize new equipment.

I am a big fan of Peter Diamandis. Dr. Peter Diamandis is the Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, which leads the world in designing and launching large incentive prizes to drive radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. His excellent book, “Abundance” paints a positive picture for the future.  More people have access to better information than any time in our history.  Given this access, productivity will increase, innovation will accelerate and the world will change in a positive direction.

The Boomers will not simply leave the workplace.  Many love their jobs, or others may not be able to afford to stop working.  Contract roles are becoming more the norm as is flexible work arrangements. Working from a distance will become increasingly common.  The key for business owners and government leaders is to put together a plan of action and approach this trend now.

Our team of specialized Recruitment Consultants work closely with clients to assess their short and long term talent needs. In conjunction with business owners and hiring managers, we develop strategic hiring plans to ensure they have people they need to succeed. If you’re interested in learning more about how our solutions can help your business, contact us today.


Cam_MacmillanAs President and Co-Founder of The Headhunters, Cam enjoys developing businesses across Western Canada as a true recruitment partner. Cam specializes in recruiting and placing senior level operations and accounting and finance professionals. He works in any industry sector and with a combination of owner-manager, and large publicly traded companies. Contact Cam at

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