Monday, April 09, 2007

Global Labour Shortage?

I had expected a global labour shortage to happen some time in the future, where given the declining birthrate in the developed world, and China's "Stop at one" policy and the equivalent birth control policies in India will eventually bite back. I foresee a future where the young person, especially young ladies (due to sexist parents aborting female foetuses), will be in great demand. This trend will accelerate since we will depend on an ever declining pool of young ladies to bear the next generation, even as the options in life for young people expand spectacularly as the baby boomer generation starts to retire and die.

I foresee this to happen in about ten to twenty years. This article suggest that it could be much sooner, like now.

At first, it was just a trickle. Indian call center workers become serial job hoppers, boosting their salaries 20% with every new position. Factory workers in Vietnam leave for the holidays and don't return. Computer programmers in Bulgaria don't bother to answer the want ads of a Los Angeles movie studio. But today, anecdotes of a global labor crunch have turned into a flood. Last week, staffing agency Manpower Inc. released the results of a survey of nearly 37,000 employers in 27 countries. It turns out that more than four out of 10 employers around the world are having trouble hiring the right kind of staff for the right kind of money. And the problem is getting worse.

It is no surprise that sooner or later, the direction of flow due to globalisation may slow, or even reverse. But it seems to be happening sooner than anybody is expecting it. All we need is the US dollar to depreciate a little bit more against the yuan and the rupee, and the cycle is complete.

What this means is that, if you are very young today, a very bright future may await you. But there is a dark side to it: the voting population of the future will be predominantly old people, and populist democracies may yield to the demands of the older electorates and enforce some nasty government policies on young people, like say, a "youth tax", which is paid only by people between 20 and 40.


  1. Interesting. George Soros also placed his bets on a globalization reversal in his books.

  2. George Soros? This, I must find out more. Thanks for the tip, thor666!