CEO Notebook |
Our profession is experiencing a generational shift that is both exciting and troubling.
That record-breaking BOI attendance is what one of your colleagues calls "a Champagne problem," and I agree. After all, the program's many pulls always include a strong national reputation, a stellar faculty of seasoned and experienced business officers, and a fantastic location — this year, the beautiful campus of Harpeth Hall in Nashville.
But I think the numbers behind those 77 attendees (many of them replacing retiring business officers), as well as the other retirement indicators, should in fact be sobering. Because while all business officers are deserving of their retirement plans, the loss of any one — the wisdom and knowledge gained only by years of rolling up one's sleeves over the course of a career — poses a challenge to the schools left behind. Moreover, the collective trend is a concern because it may represent the beginning of a tide within independent schools.
Consider this. The average age of NBOA members is 53.4 years old, according to the 2014 – 2015 Business Office Survey. That's a bit younger than the average age of higher-ed business officers (56), but we've been in our roles a little longer (our average tenure is 10.2 years, compared to 8 years for NACUBO members). More concerning is this: Our members have an average of 28.7 years of professional experience. Couple that number with the fact that we are largely a "mid-career" profession, and it's easy to surmise that a vast majority of our members will fuel a trajectory of mass retirements in the very near future.
Where is the next generation of business officers coming from? At a time when independent schools' financial health is top of mind for school leadership, this is a critical question to answer — and soon. Not to burst any celebratory bubbles, but the sound of those popping corks should also be setting off some alarm bells. How will your school be prepared? Please share your thoughts with me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Twitter (@shieldsNBOA).
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