The Work Force Crisis: Meeting Demand in 2030

According to Rainer Strack, by 2030, many of the world’s largest economies will have more jobs than adult citizens to do those jobs. Strack, a Senior Partner and Managing Director at The Boston Consulting Group, suggests that countries ought to look across borders for mobile and willing job seekers. But to do that, they need to start by changing the culture in their businesses.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 7.26.31 PMA BCG report Strack co-authored found that “the United States will need to add 26 million workers to its talent pool by 2030 to sustain the average economic growth of the two past decades (1988–2008) unless a technological breakthrough replaces manpower, while Western Europe would need to add 46 million employees.”

In a Ted Talk given this past October, Strack demonstrated how the aging population and decreased birth rate in his home country of Germany will lead to an 8 million person deficit in the labor force by 2030. In addition, he contends that although technology will play a transformative role in taking over certain jobs, long term effects of technological integration, including increased labor productivity, will not make up for this deficit, and, in fact, will help contribute to a greater shortage of highly skilled workers.

Strack argues that both companies and governments need to reevaluate their approach to labor, and that worker mobility and education are imperative to solving this global crisis. He provides four significant challenges they need to addrese:

  1. How to forecast supply & demand of labor
  2. How to attract great people
  3. How to educate & upskills people
  4. How to retain great people

Above all Strack sees that “employees are resources, are assets, not costs, not head counts, not machines, not even the Germans.”