Workforce Demographics drive workforce training

Changing workforce demographics will drive the workforce training function over the next ten years. As noted by the Popuplation Reference Bureau, “The U.S. is getting bigger, older and more diverse.” Major demographic trends that are affecting the workforce are:
  • Increasing number of employees is retiring. Losing critical institutional knowledge can place the organization at risk. Transferring knowledge between generations is a critical capability in today’s organizations.
  • The labor force is growing more slowly. In 2010-2015 the rate of labor growth will slow to 1.0%. Between 2015-2025 it will slow to 0.2%. By 2012, there will be a 6 million person gap between supply and demand of knowledge workers in the U.S.
  • The labor force is growing older. The median age of the labor force in 2008 is 40.7—the oldest ever. The historical US workforce benchmark for 55 and older was 15%. The current US workforce benchmark is 18%. Baby Boomers will leave the workplace without an equal number of qualified workers to replace them. Every day, 7,918 people turn 60 years old. Workers age 25 to 34 shrank by almost 9% in the 10 years ending in 2006.
  • In the U.S. colleges graduated only 198,000 students to replace 2,000,000 baby boomers that retired between 1998 and 2008.
  • As an example, according to the National Association of State CIO’s an average of 27% of state IT employees will become eligible for retirement in the next fiver years.
  • The American workforce will be more diverse. Nearly one-half of all new U.S. workers during the past decade are foreign born.
  • Three of five economic sectors are exposed to above average levels of age and retirement risks. These sectors are responsible for raw materials, intellectual activities and analytics and decision making.
  • More women are working today than in the past. 61.9% of women are participating in the labor force in 2008. Nearly 60% of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the U.S. are awarded to women.
  • The temporary help industry has grown rapidly accounting for 2.60% of the labor force in 2000.
  • The most common alternative employment arrangement is independent contractor—6.4% of workers are independent contractors. By 2015 it is estimated that 40 million workers will work from home at least one day a week a growth from 24 million.
  • Today 85% of jobs require education beyond high school, compared to 61% in 1991. In 2012, 14 million jobs will go to degree holders.
  • 60% of future jobs will require training that only 20% of the current workforce possesses.
How are these changing demographics going to affect your workforce and your training programs?

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  1. admin says

    Your post does indeed highlight some very significant demographic shifts, many of which apply beyond the USA. And, yes, these shifts will continue to have a major influence on workplace training. However, there other influences, e.g. the economic downturn, pressures to deliver training much more quickly than in the past, ever increasing and fast changing knowledge requirements, new expectations of Gen Y employees, new learning theories, new media options, better computing devices, etc. We’re seeing so many changes, we just have to respond.

    Clive Shepherd

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