The Economist reports that astonishing falls in the fertility rate are bringing with them big benefits…particularly for the economic situation in developing countries:
And falling fertility is a boon for what it makes possible, which is economic growth. Demography used to be thought of as neutral for growth. But that was because, until the 1990s, there were few developing countries with records of declining fertility and rising incomes. Now there are dozens and they show that as countries move from large families and poverty into wealth and ageing they pass through a Goldilocks period: a generation or two in which fertility is neither too high nor too low and in which there are few dependent children, few dependent grandparents—and a bulge of adults in the middle who, if conditions are right, make the factories hum. For countries in demographic transition, the fall to replacement fertility is a unique and precious opportunity.
It’s fascinating that the reduction in birthrates from 5 per woman to 2 took 150 years in Great Britain…but took only 20 years in South Korea…and has fallen even faster in Iran. What this does is increases the earning power and security of people in these countries – and quickly makes them richer, which tends to make them more educated as well as more productive. This changes the amount and kind of work which can happen in that country…which might have serious impacts on where global organizations choose to have work done, and on the global competitive scene in many industries. These things, of course, affect our workforce, and so for many organizations also impact our workforce planning.
Have you thought about how it might impact yours?