January 25, 2007


Davos: Demographics, Economics, Destiny: With the help of workforce consultants, some governments are addressing the economic shortcomings that a dearth of workers portend (Christopher Power, 1/25/07, Business Week)

A talk with some of the top brass of Manpower (MAN) of Milwaukee is very revealing. In 2005, Manpower's network of temp services and human resources operations put 5 million people to work around the globe. With more than $17 billion in revenue, it ranks with Swiss-based Adecco (ADO) as the world-class provider of workers to the top corporations on the planet. Manpower's studies of global workforce trends are some of the best available.
Joining the Union

Take their study on the European labor force. Corporate affairs boss David Arkless says Manpower estimates that in a few decades the European Union will have a shortfall of 60 million people of working age. "And that includes the newly admitted member states of Bulgaria and Romania," says Arkless.

This presents an enormous opportunity for workforce companies such as Manpower, which is advising European governments on bringing older workers back into the workplace, loosening labor rules, seriously retraining workers, and expanding the Continent's pool of part-time workers. All this will help Europe's looming labor shortage. But Manpower figures it won't be enough without a massive revision of immigration laws in Europe. Turkey and Egypt have the people--if Europe will have Turkey and Egypt. [...]

Still, even China cannot escape demographic destiny. China has a rapidly aging workforce and faces pension shortfalls in the trillions. Eventually, these choke points will affect China's supercharged growth. That's why Arkless figures India, with its superyoung population, could eventually surpass China in economic importance. Demographics cannot be denied.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 25, 2007 8:22 PM
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