How Can New Hampshire Retain Young Workers?

Every seven seconds, a baby boomer turns sixty years of age. Who will replace them in New Hampshire’s workforce?

Young professionals, those twenty-five to thirty-five year-olds, are leaving the state at a rate too high to replace retiring workers, said Kate Luczko, executive director of Stay Work Play-New Hampshire, at a strategy breakfast hosted by Antioch University New England (AUNE) November 18. More than fifty people from around the state gathered at the breakfast to brainstorm about how to keep these young workers in New Hampshire after they graduate from college.

A good quality of life and a strong sense of community are strong draws for New Hampshire graduates, who appreciate the ease with which they can become involved in the community here. Attendees also said that young workers have the flexibility to move up in their companies and to build their skills. But there are drawbacks, too—lack of affordable housing is one. And although New Hampshire is open to diversity, it has not attracted a wide diversity of people.

Employers at the event talked about challenges to hiring recent New Hampshire graduates: a sour economy, the expense of training new hires, especially when employees of that age are prone to move from job to job, and a lack of core competencies in some prospects.

To these employers, value-based skills such as accountability, integrity, and the ability to fail are important. The next generation of workers will also have to be skilled at networking, financial literacy, and adapting to change.

Michele Beasey of New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility, said that although the tough economic times make it hard for employers to increase new hires, they still need to make the effort to employ young professionals.

A follow-up event will be held to discuss the progress that has been made, said Polly Chandler, chair of AUNE’s Department of Management, who helped organize the event.

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