What an aging workforce means for Nashville

The Nashville area is not the only metro dealing with the challenges of an aging workforce. 

Cities and communities across the country are having conversations about the challenges around a large bulk of current talent – the Boomer generation – hitting retirement age. We are no different.

One of the main functions of our organization is to support the growth and retention of a talented workforce; a workforce that can meet the needs of growing businesses attracts new ventures and expanding companies that will invest in our region.

The majority of the joint Metro area’s population currently falls into the prime worker age category of 20-54 years old. However, over the next few years, the population is going to shift in such a way that will increase the share of retired people and reduce the amount of people in that prime working age category.

The Nashville area must think proactively about filling these soon to be empty spots if our region is going to continue its economic growth.

The good news: the Chamber is putting in the hard work to ensure Middle Tennessee will remain competitive for business relocations and expansions even as our population demographics change. The strategy to help reduce the adverse consequences of an aging population includes encouraging people to return to work, retaining new graduates from higher education institutions in the region and attracting talented professionals to migrate to the area.

Encourage people to return to work

In June of 2017, the preliminary findings by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the unemployment rate in Tennessee fell to a record low of 3.6%. In addition to new jobs created, this is due in part to people returning to work because of an improving economy.

As these workers return to the labor force, they can also increase their marketability competitiveness by completing or earning a postsecondary degree through the Middle Tennessee Reconnect Community program. The MTRC helps Tennesseans complete an unfinished degree, or attend college for the first time, as part of the Tennessee Drive to 55 initiative, which aims to have 55% of Tennesseans earn a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2025.

Retain new graduates

As of 2015, around 60% of new graduates from area colleges and universities remained in the region. This retention rate adds a great deal of valuable talent to the Nashville area’s workforce.

The Chamber wants to help increase this retention rate of new graduates by helping young professionals get connected to the Nashville business community. YP Nashville is a partnership between the Chamber and more than 50 young professional organizations that bring young professionals together to make a difference in the community while building their networks.

Attract new talent

Making the Nashville area an attractive place to live and work is another top priority for the Chamber. This goal drives our Moving Forwardinitiative, which aims to solve the city’s transit problems by bringing Chamber members and community leaders to the table to find creative solutions related to transit.

We also work to ensure that the region is welcoming and inclusive because a diverse workforce is one of the foundations of a prosperous economy. We work to support legislative efforts that lead to a more welcoming and diverse region through initiatives like the annually-published Legislative Scorecard.

We do a lot of work behind the scenes that leads to economic prosperity for Middle Tennessee. This work is supported through membership investments by area businesses. Find out more about what it means to be a Chamber member here.

Connect With the Chamber