The Workforce is Changing in Age, Number and Diversity

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by BrightMove Applicant Tracking Software and Traci Kingery

Over the past ten years, we’ve been preached to about the aging workforce. However, employers may have forgotten some important statistics as the economic climate of the past three years has delayed the realization of those early predictions. In the July issue, Dori Meinert, senior writer for HR Magazine, recognized the need for a refresher, as 2010 Census data brings attention to where we are and where we’re headed.

With the intention of promoting the need for college graduates in math and science to today’s youth, Nereida Perez, Ingersoll Rand’s VP of Global Diversity and Inclusion, stated that “demographic data can be used to compare with workplace planning goals and also align them with succession planning to test the feasibility of the organization’s survival.” Important to recruiters, understanding workforce demographics can help in the effort to meet talent management goals. Perez goes even further, realizing the benefit this information brings to business owners. “Understanding migration patterns of the fast-growing segments of the population is critical to workforce planners in companies that intend to expand. If you’re looking to build a new plant in a certain location, mo matter how much city leaders do to attract you, if the average age shoots over 50, that location is not going to generate a sustainable population”.

Though Baby Boomers are hanging around longer than anticipated (and some have come out of retirement in light of financial losses), the inevitable will still come about eventually. Meinert considered a few interesting statistics that may get you thinking. This data is in relation to comparisons and trends over the last ten years:

  • The number of individuals ages 45 to 64 has increased 31.5 percent, from 62 million to 81.5 million (about one quarter of the population).
  • In seven states, the median age shot to 40 and older.
  • Hispanic and Asian populations have grown faster than any others, with the Hispanic population accounting for more than half of the population growth.
  • Growing at the slowest rate and dropping from 69 percent to 64 percent of the population, non-Hispanic whites still make up the largest major race and ethnic group.
  • The South and West are home to the areas of largest population growth.
  • Minority group members account for almost half of the population in the West.
  • Already having a “majority-minority population”, Hawaii, California, New Mexico, and the District of Columbia were joined by Texas.
  • The number of adults aged 25 and older that had a bachelor’s degree or higher rose from 26 percent to 30 percent.

Organizations need to be analyzing their current workforce and projecting how it may change over the next ten years, accounting for retirements and normal turnover. Pay attention to the number of college graduates in the areas of the country where the company may need to make new hires in the future. New grads will be the tenured and experienced in a decade. Make sure your organization is in the best position possible as the economy rebounds and the labor forecast from the early 2000’s comes calling.

Traci K. is an HR Professional and freelance writer based in the Midwest, specializing in recruitment and immigration.  When she’s not improving unemployment, she keeps busy with her husband and four children.



1 Comment

  1. Wayne Bishop on July 25, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Great article. Organisations throughout the western world are remarkably unprepared for these demographic shifts

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