A dramatically changing workforce

A dramatically changing workforce


Baby boomers can’t quit just yet. Many of them saw their investments and retirement plans collapse during the recession. Also, the ageing population is forcing governments to increase the retirement age to help support the pension systems. In spite of these initiatives, baby boomers will still retire, meaning that Gen X will have more space to maneuver, if not already, and will be running the show.

Baby boomers will most likely work part-time as coaches, strategists and consultants for Gen X. Unlike their elderly peers, however, Gen X will need to integrate Gen Y with the current workforce. The Gen X managers, responsible to succeed in their predecessors footsteps, will need to master new multicultural relations across generations. A challenge which the previous age group, with their hierarchical management styles and relative geographical insularity, are less experienced in.

One skill Gen X will need to develop is participative decision-making that involves team members scattered worldwide, where the project team leader may never meet in person his/her team and the interaction is done via email, instant messaging, skype, online conferencing, etc. Now and in the future, every leader will have to be culturally dexterous, knowing how to motivate and reward people of different backgrounds.

Women and minority groups will also become an important source of talent for recruiters. It’s is estimated that women now account for more than 50% of the American workforce and that there are a majority of females graduates in OECD countries. Some of the world’s largest companies, such as PepsiCo, Areva, Kraft foods, Xerox, etc. are run by women and they’ll take-up more leadership positions in the future.

Interesting facts*:

  • Between now and 2030, demographers forecast the E.U. will have lost 13 million—or almost 4%—of people aged 15 to 64
  • The number of people over 65 in the EU will increase by more than 40%.
  • The fertility rate is below 2 in the EU and 2.1 in the U.S
  • In Russia and China, there is a “depopulation bomb”.
  • As generations of only children follow each other, the cousin disappears from the family tree in China.


*Sandler, Lauren. “One and Done.” Time Magazine 19 July 2010: 38-39. Print.
*Altman, Alex. “The Future of Work.” Time Magazine. 14 December 2010. Web. 14 May 2009