Young India, ageing Asia, changing expectations

| | Updated on: Oct 25, 2017
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Two reports – one by Deloitte, the other by PwC – map out the future of workforce and managing talent in India

India will account for more than half of the increase in Asia’s workforce in the coming decade, says a report by Deloitte. The Voice of Asia report released last month says that India’s potential workforce today is 885 million people but is likely to jump to 1.1 billion in a quarter of a century. Over the next decade, India’s working age population will rise by 115 million people and account for more than half of the 225 million expected across Asia as a whole.

By contrast, during the same period, Japan’s working age population will shrink by more than 5 million people, and China’s by 21 million.

The decade after that — through to the mid-2030s — will see India’s working age population jump by another 78 million people, even as Japan’s will shrink by 7 million, and China’s will drop by more than 80 million.

Even as India can bank on its youthful workforce, large tracts of Asia will face a talent crisis due to a rapidly ageing population.

Asia’s elderly population will rise from 365 million in 2017 to more than 520 million in 2027. Going 25 years forward from now, there will be more people over 65 in Asia than the total combined populations of North America and the Eurozone.

This has implications on talent supply in the continent and will also spell opportunity for India whose youthful talent can possibly migrate to areas where demand will be high. India could supply more than half of Asia’s potential workforce over the coming decade, says the Deloitte report.

The three Ps According to Deloitte, the new talent that emerges in India will be much better trained and educated than the current workforce in the country.

Painting an optimistic picture of the future, the report says that three levers of economic potential – population, participation and productivity – are all set to surge in India.

However, India needs the right institutional set-up to promote and sustain its growth. Otherwise, the rising population by itself will not translate into a demographic dividend. In particular, India will need to get more women to join the labour market. Female participation in India is currently much below other Asian economies. According to Anis Chakravarty, Lead Economist, Deloitte, “Enhancing productivity for the existing and incoming workforces are major areas of focus and essential to realise the full gains from demographics."

The young Indians of tomorrow — likely to be a billion strong by 2034 at a time when the country’s population will be over 1.5 billion — will have rising aspirations, and higher expectations, according to PwC’s recent report Reimaginging Leadership, Steering India’s Workforce in 2030 . They are more empowered to demand change, thanks to greater access to the Internet and mobile connectivity, says the report.

India will also have three megacities by 2030, although the country will remain predominantly rural up to that year. According to PwC, there will be a sustainable supply of talent in India that organisations can effectively leverage to grow here.

The new forces at work PwC’s survey shows a complex mix of opposing forces playing out at the workplace. According to the report, the organisations of the future in India will be defined by new business models, where fast-paced technology-led innovation and nimbleness will occupy one end of the spectrum, while sustainability, collaboration and value-consciousness with an emphasis on corporate social responsibility will lie at the other end. Humans will be aided by technology platforms and organisations will increasingly value human employees who bring in super-specialist skills to the table by rewarding them differently.

Key challenges facing the organisation will be to manage the high-risk environment even as it maintains trust, fairness and transparency across the value chain.

In the organisation of tomorrow, the role of the CEO will evolve from solely being the ‘Executive Officer’ driving growth to being the Chief Enablement Officer or Chief Energy Officer. Increasingly, CEOs will find themselves tested by the need to strike the right balance between humans and machines/bots in the future.

Employees of the future in India will seek meaning and purpose in their work. Super-specialists will be sought after and will dominate as everything that is routine can and will be automated. However, the organisation will be willing to pay higher rewards for these super-specialist skills.

As for HR, which today manages the workforce, its shape and form will change. HR will become the guardian of the brand, focusing on creating the right culture and protecting the organisation against reputation risks. HR will use advanced analytics to predict future talent demands and to measure and anticipate performance and retention issues.

Published on January 08, 2018

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