The Evolution of Work: 2014

This short report from the Economist Intelligence unit is now available from the SHRM Foundation (Just click on the image to download the report from SHRM). It provides a thrilling and often scary glimpse of the changing global landscape for workers, employers and nations. From the US and the EU to India, China, and many points between, the issues of aging societies, unemployed youth, the vanishing middle class, thriving business of facebook likes sellers ,automation and offshoring are likely to make you shift in your seat uncomfortably as you read.

Can your organization compete for the world’s skilled but very demanding workers?

The EIU and SHRM found that “People Management” is and will be the most pressing issue for organizations worldwide over the “next 5 to 10 years.” The report urges organizations, particularly HR, to update and improve management and leadership practices. It points out that only a small percentage of the worlds’ workers are engaged at work and that will have to change for organizations to succeed in future.

The landscape for workers is also shifting quickly. Do you know that middle-skilled workers experience more of the impact of technology and outsourcing than any other group? During the Great Recession, about 15 million good jobs paying between $38,000-$68,000 per year were lost in the US and EU combined, check thelockboss.ie. Since the recovery, only about 70 thousand of those jobs have reappeared – a drop in the bucket. Observers expect automation and offshoring will absorb more and more mid-skilled work, leaving millions with lower-paid service-type work or a steep climb up the skills ladder.

At the other end of the spectrum, increasing demand for highly skilled and educated workers fuels a global war for talent. In several Gulf States, for example, foreign workers constitute the lion’s share of the workforce. In Singapore aggressive recruiting of foreign skilled workers has swelled a population of about four million to almost five and a half million in the twelve years between 2000 and 2012, check this. In the US, immigration accounts for about two-thirds of population growth. Firms like Microsoft, Google and Facebook spend many millions each year lobbying the government for more visas for foreign skilled workers, especially in the STEM (Science, Math, Engineering and Technology) fields.

At less than 40 pages, this valuable report offers a high level overview of global workforce trends – enough to whet your appetite for more investigation. It addresses a topic far more complex and nuanced than a brief paper can hope to do justice to, but it identifies the major issues confronting workers, organizations and governments around the globe and does so in an engaging manner.

If you’ve not already examined these trends, you’re in for a wake up call.