Posts Tagged ‘workforce’
Is demography destiny? Another non linearity coming up! Ageing is old, but depopulation is new. Major nations will age into irrelevance starting in the 2020s. The USA, alone among the major nations, will not. Through sheer numbers alone, the USA will still be a force to be reckoned with as Germany, Italy, France, Russia and maybe China gray. Maybe China, as we’ve mentioned in the ‘rise of the rest’, that China may grow old before it grows rich. In the 2020s, China is supposed to outstrip the USA’s GDP, while still remaining a middle income country, and also that’s when it’s working population goes into decline.
Have we worked the economics of depopulation into our futures? Not just Singapore which is one of the fastest depopulating nations around, except we top it up through immigration. Will Chimerica make it through China’s great depopulation? Will they become another Japan (in the good sense of the word) in time? Can SGP’s strategic relevance to an ageing China, India, S Korea be bolstered beyond the usual selling of old-age management solutions? What surprises does the USA have in store for us? And of course, the most ‘young’ populations around us are Indonesia, Philippines in the 2020s etc? How do we get their best of their young to be working in Singapore then? Can we orient our economy, or at least diversify, to suit their economies?
The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not so much turbulence itself, but acting with yesterday’s logic. I think that’s from Peter Drucker. Gladwell’s main message is the 10,000 hour rule, 10 years of 1,000 hours per year of practice in whatever craft, skill .. that tips over into excellence. On a larger scale, how can we design SGP society to reward not so much talent, but reward the process of becoming talent? How can we integrate a skills programme to be long term (not just 2 monthly courses) , for every resident (not just citizen).. and turn that into a national talent attractiveness advantage? Think about this … I want to move to Singapore because it gives me the opportunity and support infrastructure for long term training, the communities to hone my craft, the marketplace to realise it monetarily, the living environment and quality of life for youth, professionals and entrepreneurs? How do we create such an unbeatable edge?
Those of you following my facebook will know I have started a new project on youth. The focal question is in flux, as it will be in the first phase, for now it is “what is the economic cost of undercapitalised, under-engaged youth to Singapore?” …. Thanks for Rob Campbell of Sunshine for posing such an audacious question.
The Secret of Success in a Failing Economy
via Bill Taylor on HarvardBusiness.org by Bill Taylor on 12/5/08
It goes to show that timing isn’t everything. Here we are, amidst the greatest economic failure since the Great Depression, and two high-profile writers are out with big new books on the surprising secrets of what makes people successful. What’s more, both of these students of success are enamored of the same secret–a lesson drawn from research on super-successful violinists at Berlin’s Academy of Music.
One of the stars of Outliers, the bestseller from Malcolm Gladwell, staff writer for The New Yorker, is a psychologist named K. Anders Ericsson, who did an investigation of three different groups of violin students: the unquestioned stars, those who were good but not great, and those who had no hope of becoming professional musicians. What separated the stars from everyone else? It wasn’t raw talent, Ericsson concluded. (Every student had huge talent.) It was sheer persistence–those who practiced harder did better, and those who practiced insanely hard became wildly successful.
Gladwell dubs this phenomenon the “10,000-hour rule.” Becoming great at anything–sports, science, business–requires ten years of practice and 1,000 hours of practice per year. “Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness,” he argues.
Geoffrey Colvin, a high-profile editor at Fortune magazine, is equally smitten by Ericsson’s research. In his new book, Talent is Overrated, Colvin doesn’t just embrace the importance of ten years of practice. He explains just what sort of practice is required–a regimen that he calls “deliberate practice.”
What are the elements of deliberate practice? It’s designed explicitly to improve performance–the little adjustments that make a big difference. It’s repetitive, which means that when it’s time to perform for real (sinking a putt, pitching a product), you don’t feel the pressure. It’s informed by continuous feedback; practice only works if you can see how you’re improving. And it isn’t much fun, which isn’t all bad. “It means that most people won’t do it,” Colvin says.
So what does this thinking about success tell us about how to succeed in perilous times? For individuals, one message is that practice does make perfect. So if you’re a computer programmer who’s spending fewer hours writing code, or a product designer whose portfolio of projects is shrinking, or a customer-service specialist with fewer customers to serve, don’t let down time become wasted time. Turn it into practice time–find ways to work intensely and deliberately on your technical and business skills, confident that hard work will pay off in the long run.
The more jarring message comes for companies and their leaders. We’re still early into the downturn, but already big companies are reacting the way they always do. They are encouraging their highest-paid, most-experienced performers–that is, those with the most practice–to be the first to leave. Last year, in perhaps the most famous example of this brain-dead, knee-jerk policy , Circuit City, the giant electronics retailer, announced its so-called “wage management initiative.” The plan: fire its most talented and experienced employees in favor of younger workers making less money. Of course, customers who visited the stores looking for advice got much less of it, which meant they took their business elsewhere. The result? Last month, Circuit City filed for bankruptcy.
It would be funny were it not so common–and so wrong-headed. Indeed, New York Times media columnist David Carr recently looked at the Circuit City fiasco and asked an uncomfortable question: How is what the widely derided leadership of Circuit City did any different from what the leaders of our most respected media companies are doing?
The media business–print, national TV, local news–isn’t just downsizing. It is inviting its best-known, most-experienced (and thus, highest-priced) talent to be the first out the door. Legendary sportswriters, iconic anchormen and anchorwomen, influential columnists and pundits–all are heading for the exits with the blessing of management, replaced (if at all) by inexperienced newcomers who can’t hope to meet the standards of their predecessors.
How’s this for a secret of success? You don’t survive a downturn by encouraging your most experienced people to leave. Perhaps more business leaders can resist this wrong-headed practice–and hold on to those employees who have had the most practice in their careers.
KPMG recently released a study on Global Skills Convergence (Sep 2008).
The Global Skills Convergence publication argues that there is a demographic faultline running through much of the developed world which will impact negatively on the supply of labor and talent during the next decade. The lengthy 50-page report
- gives a good overview of the labour market outlook for countries from 1950 – 2050 (see maps on Pg 8-12)
- introduces concept of demographic fault line (point where Boomers exit, Gen Y-ers enter, and Gen X-ers trapped in between)
- tries to integrate key publications, eg. Friedman’s “World is Flat”, and Florida’s “Creative Class” into the findings
- provides a snapshot of global migration flows, where the net gains and losses are (map Pg 22-23)
- discusses skills convergence and reasons for migration
- suggests that MNCs will undergo exponential growth and continued expansion; estimates that MNCs currently employ 90mil (3% global workforce; or 20% non-agri workforce); predicted to increase to 10% global workforce
- shares interview responses on Gen-Y and HR/ corporate responses; notably Millenniums and how to manage them (eg. recruitment strategies, international assignments, expectations etc).
KPMG has accessed, with permission, unpublished data from the United Nations Population Division which shows the net flow of migrants between a range of countries this decade and again ten years earlier. The argument advanced in this study is that in the 21st century, labor and talent is increasingly able to flow seamlessly across the globe.