Ok folks. Listen up. Here is an opportunity for you to do a bit of strategic planning. New demographic information indicates that in 18 years half of your talent pool for employees will come from an ethnic minority. Demographer Bill Frey of the Brookings Institute has published the results of his analysis of census data in America Reaches Its Demographic Tipping Point. The results show that there has been a significant change in the population of the U.S. This change will have a significant effect on your business and the talent/labor pool from which you will get your future employees. Let me summarize some of his findings:
- As of the 2010 census 49.8% of infants under the age of 1 are members of a race-ethnic minority. Frey feels that just in the intervening time since the census this figure has now topped 50%. Thus the “tipping point” in his title.
- More than 25% of infants are Hispanic; Blacks and Asians comprise 13.6 and 4.2 percent, respectively. Nearly one in twenty births were reported to be two or more races.
- There should be no surprise that the majority of the change has occured in the Southwest/South, but there have also been major changes in New York, New Jersey and Florida. According to his report “Minorities now comprise at least 40 percent of infants in more than half of all states, with the white share of infants declining in all of them, with the exception of the District of Columbia. Especially large minority gains occurred in New England states, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, as well as rapidly growing states like Florida, Nevada and Georgia.”
- Frey also reports “Hispanics are a large part of this dispersion. They comprise more than half of all infants in California, Texas, and New Mexico and are the largest source of births in Nevada and Arizona. Among minority births, they contribute the most in 26 states, including Midwest states like Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa.”
- Blacks represent the largest minority in 17 states – all in the South except for Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
- There is an increasingly expanding cultural age gap as well between older white and minority youth. This gap is largest in Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevado and Texas. This is a comparison of the over 65+ white age group versus the white share of the under 18+ age group.
This demographic change is going to have a significant impact on educational, governmental and business systems. This will obviously have an impact much quicker on government services (already occuring) and educational systems. But it will not be that much farther down the road that your employee population will be impacted as well. As a result there are several questions you longer-term thinkers need to be asking. These include:
- How will our business be impacted if we have a greater number of Hispanics working for us? Or Asians. Or Blacks. Or… well you get the idea.
- How will we need to interact with school systems so that they are capable of teaching skill sets needed for future workers to be successful in the workplace?
- Who will be our potential company leaders in 18 years? Will they be prepared to deal with multi-cultural employee populations? If not, what do we need to do today to prepare them? What training or experience can we give them now?
- What regulatory changes may come about as a result of this population change? What contingency plans do we need to have in place?
- How might our talent acquisition methods change from what they are today? Reward systems?
I am sure you can come up with more questions as well. The idea is that this is the type of stuff you need to start paying attention to now. Yes that first worker may not be there for another 18 years, but there are things you need to be doing now to prepare the way for them. At least I am assuming you would like to be proactive.
I encourage you to read Frey’s study. The link is America Reaches Its Demographic Tipping Point.