Wednesday, December 09, 2015

China's working age population is at a tipping point and about to shrink and shrink fast

First things first. The video, that is the text taken of interviews, provides a very different view of ageing from the perspective of the young and old in Asia Pacific. We get so used to hearing the Western view of things - this provides a very different perspective.

Now to the BIG issue of the way that China’s working age population (those between 15-64) will fall more than 10% by 2040.

A report from the World Bank restates its old prediction about the country  “getting old before getting rich”.

Just to put this decline in working age population into context - this is 90,000,000 workers  - more than the population of Germany.

The working populations of South Korea, Thailand and Japan are also expected to fall by 10% or more over the next 25 years.

If you want a quote for your next presentation then this will certainly get attention: “East Asia has undergone the most dramatic demographic transition we have ever seen .....  all developing countries in the region risk getting old before getting rich.” So say Axel van Trotsenburg, regional vice-president of the World Bank.

Looking at this another way, the latest estimates are that a least a dozen East Asian countries will see the percentage of their populations aged 65+ double to 14% in the next 25 years or less. In France and the US, the same transformation took 115 and 69 years respectively.

You can read more about this story here and if you want the full details download the report.

The implications of changes are massive and multiple. The one that fascinates me is that this region will have to adapt the workplaces to enable people to work longer. The same applies to Europe and the US. I suspect that the concept and implementation of the Age-Friendly workplace might well be driven by Asia Pacific rather than Europe/US.

The same issues of physiological ageing that impact the way consumers behave have the same effects on workers in the workplace. Kim Walker and I see this as a massive area for development. You will hear a lot more about this in 2016. Dick Stroud

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