Thoughts on ways to improve the management of professional services firms

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Wednesday (more correctly) Thursday Forum - The Demographic Time Bomb

Continuing my attempt to encourage discussion, my last post (31 October) People Management in Professional Services- the Demographic Time Bomb dealt with the impact of demographic change in an Australian context. Just to summarise a few key points:
  1. The number of Australians attending University has not increased significantly since 1996. The economy has gown rapidly since then. Part of this growth has been supported by productivity improvement (working smarter), part by people simply working harder. Growth has now reached the point that there are skilled labour shortages across the economy.
  2. In the absence of an increase in the proportion of Australians going to University, the number of Australians attending University over the next ten years is unlikely to increase. Further, over this period an increasing number of the baby boomer generation will be retiring. All professions and professional service firms will be struggling to find people to support growth and replace retirees.
  3. Attitudes to work have changed and are continuing to change across the complete age spectrum People are tired and less willing to make the personal contributions (the working harder) that supported previous growth.
  4. If my analysis is in any way correct, people recruitment and management is going to be the single most important strategic issue firms will face in the next decade. Why, then, do so few appear to be worrying about the issue?

Is my analysis for Australia correct? Do the same problems exist in other countries? Are firms in fact responding? What do you think needs to be done?

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