The Aging of our Small World
“It’s a small world…I wouldn’t want to paint it.” I still laugh thinking about Stephen Wright’s deadpan delivery of this classic one-liner. Returning from Lockton’s Global Benefits Forum, my head was still spinning from all the great content that was delivered at these sessions in Chicago (more on that content at the end of this blog).
During the sessions, at breaks and meals, clients kept sharing that while the world may be small in Stephen Wright’s view, it is growing immensely complex regarding Human Resources and employee benefits. Global growth is accelerating and as markets, clients and competitors expand, employers are having to meet their constituents where they are. Increasingly, they are meeting them outside the United States.
It would be nigh on impossible for me to sum up all the content of this forum in a short blog, however, I saw 2 major themes echo over the few days which center on the changes to the world’s demographics…
The world is aging incredibly fast and this aging is reshaping the global workforce. By the end of the 21st century, the populations of the Americas, Europe and Oceania will remain relatively flat while the populations of Asia and Africa will continue to rise. The African population will see the largest increase and by the end of the century, it should be roughly the same size as Asia. Nigeria will be the world’s 3rd most populous nation behind India (#1) and China (#2). These shifts will set up 3 stratifications of a) lower income nations / geographies, b) middle-income nations / geographies and c) higher income nations / geographies.