Megatrends and the Global Workforce: How Companies Can Stay Relevant

February 27, 2015 | Katie Kazmierczak | HCI
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Tim Ryan, Vice Chairman and Markets, Strategy and Stakeholders Leader at PwC, thinks the megatrends defining the social, political and economic landscape around the world present more opportunities than challenges.

“There has never been a better time to be in the workforce,” he said.

Ryan spoke at the Human Capital Institute’s 2015 Workforce Planning and Talent Strategy Conference held in Dallas, TX, February 23-25. In his presentation, “Global and US Business Megatrends and the Future of Talent, “ Ryan cited five prominent megatrends PwC has discovered through their research over the past three years:

1. Accelerating rates of urbanization

Ryan said that roughly 50% of our planet lives in cities and over the next 25 years, 1 billion additional people will move into cities across the world.

2. Climate change and resource scarcity.

Over the next 20 years our planet’s population will increase to over 8 billion people and we will need 50% more energy, 40% more water, 35% more food.

3. Demographic shifts

  • We have 49 countries on our planet with aging populations.
  • There is a growing gap between income inequality.
  • In just a few decades, whites will be the minority in the United States. 

4. Shift of economic power from the west to the east

Many companies are investing in Asia and Africa because that is where the growth is. Companies need to acquire and retain the right talent to work in these emerging markets.

5. Technological advancements

Technology can make processes easier. The cloud is changing the way companies do business. Social media is changing the way companies recruit.

Ryan said companies can choose success in this new global paradigm by embracing change and taking steps to stay relevant.

“The opportunities all of your companies have is to focus on these megatrends, to use your imagination, understand where they are going and drive changes in strategies, customer acquisition, and how you produce your good or service in the most efficient and effective way,” Ryan said.

He explained that human capital decision makers should take the following steps to stay relevant and move forward in the face of the quickly evolving global workforce:

  • Take an active role

Close the talent supply curve to ensure you are part of the solution.

  • Make talent a core, strategic differentiator

Do not just recruit, but cultivate from within. Your employees want to learn and develop.

  • Motivate your millennials

Millennials do not just want to know what to do; they want to know why they are doing it. Flexibility is also important to millennials: “They want to work where they want, when they want and how they want,” Ryan said.

  • Stay ahead of regulation and compliance

“Regulation in every sense of the word will only increase,” Ryan said. To stay relevant organizations need to think about increased transparency at all levels of business, right now.

Ryan said the future of work will be purpose-driven engagement and recommended that companies have a purpose statement in place.

He also said that organizations should face disruptive technologies and new employment models (start-ups, entrepreneurs and freelancers) head-on.

“Most of us just want a chance to make a difference,” Ryan said, explaining that the new global workforce will allow companies to do just that. “These trends give us the opportunity of a lifetime.” 

Katie Kazmierczak is a media professional and freelance writer with experience in journalism and corporate communications. You can connect with her on Twitter @Oh_Katie or on Instagram @KatieTheAuthor.