SHRM Foundation Research: Globalization of Business, Changing Demographics and Evolving Patterns of Mobility to Transform the Workplace over Next 10 Years

Jun 23, 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. — What will the world of work look like years from now?

New research sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation and written by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) identifies key findings on the changing nature of work and resulting implications for human resource professionals.

PRESS BRIEFING: Mark Schmit, executive director of the SHRM Foundation, will be available for questions about the research via conference call at 3:45 p.m. EST today (Monday, June 23). For dial-in directions, contact SHRM Media Relations.

Released today at the SHRM Annual Conference in Orlando, the Evolution of Work and the Worker report predicts:

  • Demographic shifts will continue to pose contrasting challenges, with the developed world facing an aging workforce while emerging markets prepare an overwhelmingly young population for work.
  • Growing workplace diversity, in terms of age, culture and — particularly in emerging markets — gender, will require a sophisticated response from managers.
  • Technological advances will provide companies with a deeper pool of labor, but will present them with complex challenges in managing cross-border teams.
  • The expanding global workforce and growing competition for jobs will weaken workers’ power to negotiate wages, salaries and other benefits.
  • Economic inequality will increase as technology allows the automation of tasks formerly performed by mid-skilled workers. • At the same time, companies will face a persistent skills shortage among highly specialized technical workers and senior managers and executives.
  • Companies will need an increasingly sophisticated understanding of operating risks across emerging and developing markets.
  • HR managers will need reliable data on human-capital issues in new markets to make sound strategic business decisions and minimize risk.

“It is clear from this forward-looking research that the future holds many talent management changes and challenges that business leaders and their HR partners will need to overcome,” said Mark Schmit, SHRM Foundation executive director. “The SHRM Foundation will be funding research to make sure that there are effective practices for dealing with these future issues.”

The report is the first in a series of three research reports in the SHRM Foundation’s new Thought Leadership Initiative, which will include validation reports, articles, videos and infographics to identify emerging trends on workforce issues for progressive organizational leaders.

Said David Humphreys, custom research director, Americas, at The Economist Intelligence Unit: “The evidence validates a simple but powerful mega-trend: the nature of work and the worker has and will continue to evolve. Thus staying ahead of the curve through timely, informed decisions will be critical if we are to find effective and innovative solutions.”

The research report, videos and infographics from the Evolution of Work and the Worker report are available free of charge at

Media: For more information about the report or dial-in directions for the press briefing, contact Kate Kennedy of SHRM Media Relations at 703-535-6260 and and Vanessa Gray at 703-535-6072 and or Mathew Hanratty of The Economist Intelligence Unit at 44-(0)20-7576-8546 and and Eva Blaszczynski at 312-853-3831 and

Join the conversation: @EconInsights @SHRMFoundation #FutureHRTrends

About the SHRM Foundation

The SHRM Foundation was founded in 1966 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The SHRM Foundation advances global HR knowledge and practice by providing thought leadership and educational support, and by sponsoring, funding and driving the adoption of cutting-edge, actionable and evidence-based research. Visit and follow us on Twitter @SHRMFoundation.

About The Economist Intelligence Unit

The Economist Intelligence Unit is the world leader in global business intelligence. It is the business-to-business arm of The Economist Group, which publishes The Economist newspaper. As the world's leading provider of country intelligence, The Economist Intelligence Unit helps executives make better business decisions by providing timely, reliable and impartial analysis on worldwide market trends and business strategies. More information about The Economist Intelligence Unit can be found at or follow us on


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