This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

December 10, 2008

Challenges of Global Workforce Migration

According to the just-released report from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), "people are becoming increasingly mobile. . .to meet the social and economic challenges of globalization". The major factor is their search for employment.

This World Migration Report (WMR) 2008 states "human mobility has become a life choice, driven by disparities in demography, income, and employment opportunities across and within regions". There are more than 200 million international migrants in the world today.

In the last century, the international community decided to allow the free movement of capital, goods, and services. The predictable consequence of that choice is "human mobility on an unprecedented global scale. . .matching the subsequent supply and demand . . . [will remain] a critical challenge".

Within the next 50 years as birth rates fall and working populations age, these developed countries will experience even greater shortages, leaving twice as many people over 60 years of age than children. Demographic trends show that without immigration, the working age population in these countries is expected to decline by 23 percent by 2050.

During this time, the working age population for Africa alone is expected to triple from 408 million in 2005 to 1.12 billion. China and India are likely to account for 40 percent of the global workforce by 2030.

Last month based on a new analysis of data, Saudi Arabia found that "uneducated foreign workers topped the list of criminals"; the Kingdom now restricts immigration to people who are literate. Meanwhile, in the United States, immigration raids on meatpacking plants have led to a company sell-out and bankruptcy.

All of the developed countries of the world have major work to do to determine how much and what kind of immigration they will tolerate. But first, governments must examine the various costs of their actions or be prepared to suffer the consequences.

Our forecast is the developed countries critically needing immigrant labor will further support literacy and numeracy around the world, open their borders, and find ways to protect these required workers. Thus, they will have the people they need to prosper in the future.


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