Tomorrow's Workforce

Over the next ten years, the Power Transmission Industry (PT) will begin experiencing Human Resources challenges, due to a combination of an aging workforce and a lack of adequate talent to replace the retiring “Baby Boomer”. Statistics show that the workforce is aging at an exponential rate, which will soon give way to younger less experienced workforce. According to the American Society on Aging (ASA), The 78 million Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964 comprise such a large group that there are more workers in their fifties and sixties on the job than ever before (Silverstein, 2008). Because of what has been called a Silver Tsunami, the number of workers ages 55 and older is projected to nearly double during the time-period 2000–2020. Consequently, 1 out of 4 workers are projected to be over age 55 by the year 2020, a striking demographic shift in the labor force (Toossi, 2012)[1].

Bar Graph on percent of the labor force 55 years and older


In preparation of the impending workforce demographic shift, companies such as Sumitomo and other members in the PT industry are developing comprehensive succession plans building for “tomorrows” workforce.  The plans are evaluated for all critical positions within the organization.  Because of the vast alternative industries of choice, the talent pool available for selecting future leaders and workers in the PT industry has become scarce.


Succession planning is but a part of the solution for building a sustainable workforce. Once the talent is identified, providing proper training is essential to the viability of the company. The more knowledge one has regarding the company’s products and services, the more value they can provide to the customers and end-users. To help address the product knowledge shortfall, Sumitomo is developing an interactive training program. The goal is to reinforce the product features and build up the trainee’s confidence by adding a “hands-on” approach to complement the visual presentation portion.


Our vision is to elevate the Customer experience by providing an interactive training program that will enhance the knowledge and value of Sumitomo Drive Technologies’ products and services in the market. The program targets internal employees, distributor partners, and end-users by offering a customized platform to ensure each channel receives maximum value from each training session.  Key areas covered include a mix of PT fundamentals, Sumitomo specific products, and general gearbox maintenance and troubleshooting, and incoming classes are evaluated via a pretest in order to tailor content appropriately. 


The future is bright, and while the PT industries most knowledgeable and tenured employees look forward to their next great adventure in life, companies like Sumitomo must continue to look for ways to transfer the knowledge and experience to the next generation.  With the development and investment into this new training program, we believe we are on the right path.


[1] Differences Challenge Assumptions: American Aging Society by Jeffrey Tamburo,