Friday, April 25, 2008

Demographics pose pressing dilemma: Renew or reinvent

Such is the ideal scenario of e-government and public sector renewal - senior managers open to change, willing to listen, and prepared to empower younger workers within their organizations to lead renewal efforts aimed at the nexus between digital and organizational innovation. Such is a key to both government relevance and renewal in the coming decade.Conversely, a more ominous scenario may be taking shape, one driven by widening concerns about a massive exodus of the senior management cadre across the federal and most provincial governments. Such departures, according to some, can only mean a critical loss of talent, knowledge and organizational memory at a time when the public sector confronts increasingly complex and managerial challenges.

Governments are thus beginning to at least consider the prospect of incentive packages for people to stay (a dramatic reversal of the mid-1990s program review era). New mechanisms, such as external audit committees (called for by the Federal Accountability Act) will also provide venues for many retired senior officials to exercise influence. It's also not completely unthinkable that many government executives may choose to stay longer as mandatory retirement becomes more the exception than the norm.

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