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Through to 2040, the growth of the working-age population (aged 15 to 64) is expected to slow in eight out of ten countries globally: fewer people are entering and more people are exiting the job market. This reflects declining fertility rates, ageing populations and falling immigration. Working-age populations in East Asia and the Middle East will slow down twice as fast as those in the US and the European Union. The acquisition of education is greatest in elderly populations, lowest in populations with the youngest demographic profiles. Perhaps reflecting this, 27% of manufacturing firms and 35% of services firms reported that a lack of staff undermined production in 2022. Slowing immigration, especially in more developed regions, presents an impediment to raising national productivity. The United Nations indicates that net migration (immigrants minus emigrants) will slow through to 2040 in nearly 60% of developed economies. The situation will be most challenging in Europe, where the working population is expected to shrink. The dependency ratio is declining. The population is ageing and the working-age population is shrinking. This weakens the dependency ratio, increasing the numbers of children and older people relative to the working-age population, and challenging us to consider how to ensure the quality and availability of services in society. The need for employment-based immigration is growing.

The global workforce growth will ease

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The global workforce growth will ease