5 Population Trends that can either Disrupt or Transform Your Business (and Career)

The 7 billion questions. According to National Geographic, by the end of 2011 our population growth will reach 7 billion. What are the consequences for the shift in population? How does population growth have an impact on business and career development? This is something that we all need to think about the implications of, as we witness the shifting of population growth and economic clout from developed to developing nations.

You might not realize that big corporations have ‘quietly’ building their presence at places, where they see having the most potential to grow in the emerging markets. Because they see that emerging markets is the place to go to maintain their growth.

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The 7 billion questions. According to National Geographic, by the end of 2011 our population growth will reach 7 billion. What are the consequences for the shift in population? How does population growth have an impact on business and career development? This is something that we all need to think about the implications of, as we witness the shifting of population growth and economic clout from developed to developing nations.

You might not realize that big corporations have ‘quietly’ building their presence at places, where they see having the most potential to grow in the emerging markets. Because they see that emerging markets is the place to go to maintain their growth.

These are the five population trends that can have an impact on the way you do business or your career path.

POPULATION TRENDS

1. Most populous countries in the world

Most_populous_countries_2010_to_2050

image: Population Reference Bureau (click on image for larger view)

With the exception of United States and Japan, every country on the list is part of developing nations that sometimes also refer to as emerging markets. The most populous countries in emerging markets in 2010: from Asia – China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh to Brazil in South America and Nigeria in Africa. Memberships of most populous countries predicted to change with India on top of the chart follow by China, US, and the rest of the developing nations by 2050.

In 2010, there were 2.4 billion people living in ‘just’ two countries – China and India. For businesses, the sum of population in these two countries alone represents a “huge” market filled with opportunities. Wonder why US companies busy building presence there? That is the reason why.

#2. Age groups: developing vs. developed countries

Developed_vs_developing_countries_population

image: Population Reference Bureau

As you can see from the chart above, it’s obvious that all of the population growth will take place in emerging markets. Multinational companies have poured resources there, left and right. They’re looking at keeping their businesses busy for many years to come.

#3. The rising global middle class

Global_middle_class

image: World Business Council of Sustainable Development

By 2030, the global middle class is widely projected to at least double in size to as many as 5 billion – a surge unseen since the Industrial revolution. Asia, have the prospect of becoming the home of 2/3 of global middle class, a trend that would shift economic clout from the West to East. (Christian Science Monitor)

#4. US population shifts

Us_population_by_race_2k_and_2010

image: Pew Hispanic Center

Population in the US is changing. The 2010 Census counted 50.5 million Hispanics in the United States up from 35.3 million in 2000. This segment of the population making up 16.3% of the total population. According to Pew Hispanic Center’s analysis, among children ages 17 and under, there were 17.1 million Latinos that represent 23.1% of this age group. Furthermore, the number of Latino children grew 39% the last decade. By the numbers alone they represent the largest and youngest minority group in the US. One in five schoolchildren is Hispanic. One in four newborns is Hispanic. (Pew Hispanic Center)

#5. More people living in urban centers

The_top_25_hotspots

Today, only 600 urban centers generate about 60% of global GDP, in which half of global GDP came from 380 cities in developed world, with more than 20% come from 190 North American cities. But by 2025, the membership of this group of urban centers will change. One-third of these developed cities will no longer make up the 600 largest urban centers. 136 new cities are expected to enter the top 600, all of them from developing world with overwhelmingly 100 new cities – from China. (McKinsey Global Institute)

So, how are these trends going to impact us? We’ll look at the 9 areas, where these trends could potentially have an impact either on your business or career.

Going forward

Here are the 9 areas, where population trends might have an impact:

1. Talent

Competition for talent would be fierce. Growing customer demand drive up the need for skilled workers and talent, as companies enter and expand operations across the globe. There is already a shortage of IT workers and the war for talent among tech companies in the US.

2. Jobs

71% of US workers are in jobs for which there is low demand from employers, an oversupply of eligible workers, or both. (This is pretty scary to think of the consequences). The good news is there is a shortage for American workers with the skills to fill the jobs using technology and more complex organization skills. (McKinsey).

3. Products and services

Consumers in emerging markets have different needs for goods and services than those in the U.S. Then there is also a trend of value-conscious shoppers in the world.

4. Resource management, competition for natural resources (or lack thereof).

Water, energy, raw materials, natural resources. For example, water is a local issue. And water is going to be the most difficult issue to deal with in the western part of the US.

5. Education and training

This is the area where training for professionals and employees is much needed in keeping up with the demand. According to Deloitte, “emerging markets have become the place to turn for hard-to-find talent – driven both by low cost and technical experience.” Faced with these challenges and offshoring, soon – we are all going to become lifelong learners within our profession/ passion.

6. Marketing

How do you optimize your marketing dollars? Do you really know your customers? There’s no ‘average’ Americans anymore. The market has become more ethnically diverse and mobile. What about marketing to green consumers and millenials?

7. Government policies

We’re looking at least several issues on hand, i.e. land use, climate change, access to clean (fresh) water, pollution, and schools.

8. Real estate

The two segment that stands out: workforce housing and affordable housing.

9. Mobile technologies

We’re living in a wired world. According to a recent survey, 33% of companies have a mobile marketing strategy. In the US, smartphone penetration is higher within the minority groups – Hispanics (45%), African Americans (33%) and Asians (45%). In the world, six in ten people have mobile phones.

On the other side of the equation, these risks represent new challenges and opportunities – at the same time.

The world is undergone a transformation that we’ve never seen before. It’s very exciting!

So now let’s turn the table on you. What’s your observations?

Author: Dewita

Co-founder Ecotwist Labs.

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