Shifting demographics impact the Human Age

Workforce Demographics

Six years have passed since we first introduced the Human Age at the World Economic Forum. We’d identified that human potential had become the catalyst for change in the world of work, so were keen to introduce the key talent-related trends that were disrupting how businesses operate. One of these trends was ‘shifting demographics’ – and since 2010, we’ve seen the impact of changing workforce demographics escalate.

Not so long ago, developed economies were used to seeing their population numbers grow. As a result, they were afforded an abundance of talent when they wanted to recruit. But things have changed, and nowadays these workforces are static or shrinking. In Europe, for example, the working-age population is expected to drop by 10% by 2020. Talent is becoming increasingly harder to find.

Honey, I Shrunk the Workforce

Changing workforce demographics means talent is becoming scarcer and candidates with in-demand skills are now firmly in the driving seat. They’re rapidly being snapped up – and they can pick and choose where and how they want to work.

Businesses that want to grow need to have the best talent on board. If you want to get and keep them, you need to compete for them. And to do that, employers need to think and act differently. They need to realise that if they don’t act and engage candidates quickly, then others will. They need to think about how they can make applying for their roles quicker, easier, and more convenient, if they want to compete.

Take the application process as an example. Let’s face it: modern life is hectic. From mobile apps, to contactless cards and video on-demand, we all want things to be delivered right now. Unsurprisingly, candidates want the same thing when it comes to applying for jobs. Employers that engage with candidates in the quickest, easiest way possible are going to be the ones that win.

Making your application process as simple as possible pays dividends, because quality candidates will be more likely to engage and apply. At Manpower, we’re a perfect example of this. When we introduced our new website, we decided to simplify the application process from seven steps to three. As a result, we saw applications soar from 6,000 per month to more than 35,000.

Speed is of the essence

Slimming down your application form isn’t a complicated, resource-heavy task. It’s a quick, straightforward change that can have a big impact on how candidates engage with your business. In a candidate-led market, it’s simple changes like this that will make all the difference.

Shifting workforce demographics will continue to change the structure of the global labour market. Employers are already having difficulty finding people with the right skills, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. For companies to compete in the Human Age, organisations need to think carefully about how they can position themselves as an employer of choice, and how they can make their candidates’ lives easier.

Watch our new YouTube series to find out more about the Human Age trends which are driving changes in today’s world of work.