Seven powerful demographic trends—analogous to gale force wind gusts in an adverse weather event—constitute potentially powerful disruptors of business and commerce in the years ahead. Four of the gale force demographic disruptors—slowing total and foreign-born population growth, white population loss, and declining fertility— have evolved over the past several decades. The remaining three—deaths of despair, involuntary retirements, and declining female labor force participation—are rooted in recent crises that created a major demographic depression in the U.S. Failure to address these forces has enormous implications for talent recruitment, development, and retention, prime drivers of U.S. business competitiveness in an ever-changing and increasingly diverse global marketplace.
In this essay, we describe the nature of the seven demographic gale force winds and conclude by highlighting the types of strategies, tactics, practices, and procedures business leaders will have to implement to recruit and retain talent as well as the types of policy changes they will have to lobby government to enact to ensure their viability and competitiveness in an ever-changing global marketplace. Given increasing global demographic diversity and heightened concerns about systemic societal inequities, business leaders that successfully manage and develop strategic responses to these demographic gale force winds will generate greater reputational equity—and by extension, profitability for their enterprises.