30 November 2005 | Rebecca Ellinor
Raising the age of eligibility for a state pension could be a blessing for the purchasing profession, according to industry experts.
If the government decides to accept the recommendations expected from Lord Turner's Pension Commission yesterday, the official retirement age could rise from 65 to 67.
This could help procurement retain experienced practitioners it would otherwise lose earlier.
Roy Ayliffe, director of professional practice at CIPS, told SM
: "As procurement is rising up the agenda, demand for more skilled people at various levels is also growing. If people stay longer, that will help."
A surge in demand for purchasing staff has been underlined by surveys carried out by CIPS, Purcon and Hays Purchasing.
Julie Harris, head of the interim team for recruitment firm Purcon, said: "A change in retirement age is positive from the perspective of both the employee and employer.
"Procurement has experienced a significant skills shortage in the past 10 years. We lose some of our most valuable talent to the golf course."
Harris said companies could offer staff more flexible arrangements, such as working from home or part-time hours.
"By offering creative working solutions we could transfer skills to the next generation," she said.
She added that financial pressures caused by pension shortfalls and people starting a family later in life meant more wanted to work past retirement age.
But Ayliffe said it was important older staff were not using outdated ways. "New staff tend to use new techniques," he said.