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The Global Future of Work—The Future Labor Force

The Global Future of Work—The Future Labor Force

The Future Global Labor Force—Key Findings

The global labor force will comprise approximately 􂀀 billion people in 2025, with Generation X accounting for over one-fourth of the labor force and millennials almost half.

Aging populations will greatly influence 2025’s labor market, extending retirement ages, potentially creating labor shortages, and increasing the older-age population burden for prime-age workers.

Aging populations will greatly affect Japan and many Western European countries, increasing dependence on female and immigrant labor, as well as on automation.

The number of freelancers in the labor market will grow because of Internet- and mobile-based employment models, and employers will rely more on hybridized labor pools to meet labor shortages.

Global competition over high-skill laborers is forcing some countries to rewrite immigration policies and other countries to incentivize talent retention. These trends will intensify through 2025.

About this report

The Global Future of Work—The Future Labor Force investigates emerging Mega Trends shaping 2025's labor market outlook. Analysis includes social implications, such as the size and composition of the future labor force; economic implications, such as wage and benefits comparisons; and political implications, such as international labor goals and historical migration trends. Other key topics include millennials and female participation in the future labor force, as well as predictions for how artificial intelligence and automation will affect job availability. Sector scenarios examine employment share trends, and overviews are provided for developed and developing economies. The study period is from 2015 to 2025.


  • Executive Summary
    • The Future Global Labor Force-Key Findings
    • Scope of Study-Trend, Economy, and Sector Coverage in the Future Labor Force
    • List of Definitions
    • List of Acronyms and Abbreviations
  • Social Trends Driving the Future Labor Force
    • Social Trends-Key Findings
    • The Global Labor Force Will Grow, while Participation Rates Decline
    • An Aging Population Will Mean Postponing Retirement
      • Table Average and Anticipated Age of Retirement, Selected Countries, 2012-2015 and 2025*
    • Aging Trends Will Disproportionately Affect Developed Economies
    • The Generational Divide Positions Millennials as 2025's Labor Leaders
      • Table Generation Breakdown, Global, 2015 and 2025
    • The Regional Generational Divide Will Favor APAC
    • Women Will Hold Greater Influence in the Global Labor Force
    • The Female Labor Force Will Grow Almost Universally
    • Labor Supply and Demand Must Adjust to Global Economic Shifts
    • Skills Demand Must be Met through Domestic Educational Attainment
    • New Universal Literacies Will Respond to Technology's Ubiquity
    • Future Workforce Learning Will Adapt to Many Perspectives
    • Talent Retention Will Face Values- and Tech-related Challenges
    • "Macro-to-micro"-Strategic Recommendations and Predictions
  • Economic Trends Driving the Future Labor Force
    • Economic Trends-Key Findings
    • Pay and Payroll Evolution Will Correlate with Mobile Technology Use
    • Remote Models Will Present Even Greater Employment Options
    • Crowdsourcing Models Will Permeate More Organizational Functions
    • Minimum Wages Will Continue to Spur National and Global Debates
    • US Employees Will Gain from Transparency in Benefit Spend
    • Global Benefits Will Standardize Some but Mostly Stay Varied
    • AI, Automation, and the Value of Labor-An Optimistic Scenario
    • AI, Automation, and the Value of Labor-A Neutral Scenario
    • AI, Automation, and the Value of Labor-A Pessimistic Scenario
    • "Macro-to-micro"-Strategic Recommendations and Predictions
  • Political Trends Driving the Future Labor Force
    • Political Trends-Key Findings
    • UN Labor Influence Supports Gender and Global Economic Parity
    • G20 Labor Influence Emphasizes Innovation, Education, and Mobility
    • Immigration Trends Reveal Post-millennium Pattern Shifts
    • Emigration Trends Reveal an Increasing Europe-APAC Exchange
    • High- and Medium-skill Employment Shares Post Inverse Projections
    • Low-skill Share Growth Will be Greater in Developing Economies
    • Reverse Migrations Will Increase as Developing Economies Advance
    • Digital Nomads Represent the Future of Working Remote
    • Unions Will Adapt to Digital Work Communities or Risk Obsolescence
    • Regulating IP Will Top International Priority Lists through 2025
    • "Macro-to-micro"-Strategic Recommendations and Predictions
  • Snapshots of the Future Labor Force in Developed and Developing Economies
    • Snapshots of Economies-Key Findings
    • Developed Economies Will Have Lower Medium-skill Labor Shares
    • A Deeper Dive-Japan Typifies Developed Economies
    • Developing Economies Will Have Greater Routine Labor Shares
    • A Deeper Dive-India Reflects Key Concerns of Developing Economies
    • "Macro-to-micro"-Strategic Recommendations and Predictions
  • Sector Scenarios
    • Sector Scenarios-Key Findings
    • Agricultural Sector Employment Share Will Decline Globally
      • Table Long-term Agricultural Subsector Growth Rates by Economy Type, Global, 2000-2019
    • Industrial Sector Employment Share Holds Mixed Growth Projections
      • Table Long-term Industrial Subsector Growth Rates by Economy Type, Global, 2000-2019
    • Services Sector Employment Share Will Increase Globally
      • Table Long-term Services Subsector Growth Rates by Economy Type, Global, 2000-2019
    • "Macro-to-micro"-Strategic Recommendations and Predictions
  • The Last Word
    • The Last Word-3 Big Predictions
  • Appendix
    • List of Countries Grouped by Economy Type or Organization
    • List of Countries Grouped by Region
    • Full List of Subsectors by Economic Sector
    • Overview of Employer and Employee Benefit Trends in Argentina
    • Overview of Employer and Employee Benefit Trends in China
    • Overview of Employer and Employee Benefit Trends in Germany
    • Overview of Employer and Employee Benefit Trends in India

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