(March 04, 2004) - You'll want to download Rand's latest paper on the changing workforce. Their blurb:
What are the forces that will continue to shape the U.S. workforce and workplace over the next 10 to 15 years? With its eye on forming sound policy and helping stakeholders in the private and public sectors make informed decisions, the U.S. Department of Labor asked RAND to look
at the future of work. The authors analyze trends in and the implications of shifting demographic patterns, the pace of technological change, and the path of economic globalization.
As you might guess, the central dynamic is demographics. Coupled with an eye on Globalization and advances in technology, the authors paint a clear picture of a workforce that grows more slowly, is more technical, is more female and diverse, is older and in the good times is way
harder to find and retain.
-- The baby boom is long since over. The annual growth rate of the nation's workforce is expected to slow to a nearly static 0.4 percent by 2010. That's a sharp decline from the 1.1 percent annual increases seen in the 1990s and the 2.6 percent annual increases experienced
during the 1970s. The slowing workforce growth rate is caused primarily by a 25 percent decline in the birthrate that followed the end of the baby boom in the mid 1960s, coupled with a trend toward earlier retirement by men.
The influx of immigrant workers and women into the workforce has counteracted these forces so that the workforce has continued to expand, albeit at a slower rate.
-- Technology will continue to shape the U.S. economy in greater ways, and the pace of those impacts will be accelerating. The report says that with advances in technology and an increasingly global economy, employees will be more mobile and work in more decentralized,
specialized firms with less formal and more individualized employer-employee relationships. While technology has many benefits for the workforce, such as increased productivity, it also forces workers to maintain their skills through lifelong learning. Workers with fewer skills will command much lower
salaries and risk job loss to their better-trained counterparts -- domestically and globally.
-- Economic globalization will affect industries and segments of the workforce that in the past were relatively isolated from outside competition, boosting trade, affecting capital flows, encouraging mobile populations, and causing rapid transfer of knowledge and
technologies. While some sectors might experience a net loss in jobs and market share, those consequences should be counterbalanced by gains in other sectors.
- Washington Times / UPI Feb 13
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, has a remarkable set of charts, slides and downloadables summarizing similar material. This
slideshow is a good summary. Here's a powerful insight:
Asians and Hispanics have the fastest labor force growth, primarily because of immigration.
The higher-than-average labor force growth for blacks reflects a higher birth rate among blacks than among white non-Hispanics.
White non-Hispanics will still be the largest labor force group, accounting for about 71 percent of the labor force in 2008. Hispanics will account for about 13 percent, black non-Hispanics for about 11 percent, and Asians and other groups for about 5 percent.