Change is increasingly viewed as a constant in almost all areas of life in the 21st century and especially in business where firm survival and success basically lie in appropriate responses to changes in the market environment (Truss, Mankin and Kelliher, 2012). For instance, the increase in the number of young people joining the workforce requires that firms seek to nurture the potential inherent in most of the younger generation for future firm profitability. This represents one way through which demographic change, as change in the size and composition of populations among other relevant changes, are impacting the nature of modern business. Specifically, firms are engaging in various efforts involving talent management and leadership training among other practices like flexible work arrangements that allow firms to enhance maximum employee productivity in an efficient manner.
The anticipated increase of the middle class in emerging markets also represents a significant change driver which creates major opportunities for companies with regards to rising demand for various products and services given the associated increases in discretionary incomes. This explains some of the trends that can be identified in business circles especially in the outsourcing of jobs which is not only informed by cheap raw materials but also the availability of large and diverse markets for goods and services. Further, changes in tastes and preferences of these populations, as can be identified in the shift to health-conscious consumption, can, and have informed change in strategies by firms such as Coca Cola, among others.
Through knowledge and medical advances, the elderly population has, and is anticipated to increase further which creates opportunities for the introduction of new products and services as well as creation of new markets and business models targeting this group. This increased longevity also has implications in the workplace as people over the age of 65 will and may be forced to continue work so as to accumulate adequate retirement resources while also representing a vital knowledge base that should be passed on. In the workplace, this means potential clashes with the incoming younger generations who make have different ways of working, reassessment of pension arrangements as well as diminished vigor in accomplishing responsibilities due to old age among other concerns like greater vulnerability to falls and illnesses.
- Truss, C., Mankin, D., & Kelliher, C. (2012). Strategic human resource management. New York, NY: OUP Oxford.