This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Reskilling the World

  The Herman Trend Alert

December 3, 2003

Global Demographics

The characteristics of human populations and population segments, known as demographics, influence consumer markets, workforce composition, school enrollment, and a wide range of other aspects of our intricate interwoven society. The demographics of a community, a country, or the world are carefully considered by forecasters. Implications of current, changing, and future demographics can have far-reaching impacts on human conditions.

The demographics of the United States shape the composition of the labor pool, guiding workforce strategists and recruiters. Who will be available to work? What personal or societal conditions will determine what sorts of people will work…and why? As our economy picks up and people have more choices about their employment opportunities and careers, what decisions will they make? What type of work will they seek? How much and how long will workers choose to be on the job? How will desired lifestyles influence their choices?

Just as this issue is emerging as a vital concern in the United States, citizens of other countries around the world will face similar questions. The growing global economy will provide opportunities in many geographical areas and many employment fields. Jobs moving from the United States to other countries will influence global workforce demographics, shifting buying patterns in business and consumer markets. These shifts will create more jobs in the United States and in other countries.

Observing demographic trends in various states, countries, and regions will provide insight into potential scenarios. For instance, China will experience a dramatic population aging over the next 50 years. The most recent population projection from the United Nations expects that China will have about 630 million people age 50 and above in 2050. At anticipated rates, we expect that there will be only about 78 million children below the age of 5 and just 324 million children and teenagers below the age of 20. This trend suggests that by 2050 China will have almost twice as many people above age 50 than below age 20.

This example, from just one country, will influence consumer buying, workforce composition, healthcare, education, and similar major aspects of society---national and global.

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