Demographic Time Bomb? Cappelli’s Not Buying it

Human resources publications — heck, ERE’s no exception — talk about the demographic problem soon to be caused by the retirement of the baby boomers like it’s a done deal.

Not so, Wharton’s Peter Cappelli said today at the Human Capital Institute conference in Phoenix.

Cappelli called the ticking-boomer-time-bomb “overblown.”

“The echo of the baby boom, that cohort, is going to be as big as the baby boom,” Cappelli says.

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Cappelli does say that some countries will feel a crunch, such as Italy. “They’re clearly not listening to the Pope in Italy,” he jokes.

Meanwhile, Cappelli also said he’s not always a big proponent of succession planning. It can be “unneccessary and not useful,” he said. Supply and demand of candidates is sometimes too hard to predict. On top of that, it creates a “false sense of certainty.”

An interesting stat Cappelli mentioned: companies in which CEOs have died suddenly and unexpectedly, according to one study, on average see an increase in stock prices.


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