Posted on 12/14/2011 at 08:23 AM by Global Reach

Demographics are the next major trend we will focus on in this blog. For the first time in the history of the world, we have more old people than we have young. In the United States specifically, “nearly 83 million Americans were born in the two decades following the end of World War II. Better health care, diets, and lifestyles have been prolonging life expectancies for decades, resulting in a remarkable increase in the number of people living past age 70, 80, and even 90” (Workforce 2020, Judy & D’Amico, 1997). As each year passes, more and more of these workers will retire from the workforce, leaving huge gaps with not enough workers to fill the positions being left open. Additionally, the growth in the number of the older population will directly impact the number of jobs available in health care and services the elderly require. 

There will also be a number of older workers from the baby boomer generation who will continue to work in their 60s and 70s because they are unable to afford to retire. Their sheer numbers will lead to sharp reductions in Social Security and Medicare benefits.  Many may also prefer to work through their sixties or even longer. This will definitely impact the positions that younger workers could be promoted into.  It could possibly become more challenging for our students to find employment in a career path of their choosing that also allows for the opportunity to move up due to the older professionals who are continuing to hold onto those management and upper level positions.

The ethnic make-up of our workforce will also be changing. Our students will need to be able to work with people from different backgrounds, cultures and life experiences. White non-Hispanics will represent 68 percent of the workforce, down from 76 percent in 2000.  Fourteen percent will be Hispanic, six percent is anticipated to be Asian, and the Black share of the workforce will continue to be around 11 percent. The majority of these shifts will be seen in the western segment of the United States (Judy & D’Amico, 1997).  The need for our students to speak another language other than English will continue to be a factor. Spanish, Chinese and Russian are the top three languages anticipated to be most in demand. 

“These demographic trends are the reason that Social Security and other retirement systems – including pension plans – are in jeopardy of collapse. With the baby boomers becoming eligible for Social Security in 2008, we will see a disproportionate three to one ratio of retirees to job market entries. Immigration growth will alleviate this considerably but with that comes a new set of challenges such as an increasing number of limited English proficient students.” (Daggett, 2005)

“Workforce 2020”, Judy and D’Amico, 1997.
White Papers from the International Center for Educational Leadership at
“Preparing Students for Their Future”
“Globalization – Tipping the Scale of Economic Supremacy”
“Where in the World Is Technology Going?”

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