In addition, employers who offer childcare, fertility and family benefits in the workplace will thrive. Diversity and inclusion in the workplace will be driven by Gen Z, which is the most diverse generation to date: 22% of this generation has at least one immigrant parent. The pre-Covid widening gender pay gap, if closed, can unlock economic benefits and boost global GDP by billions of dollars. The labor economy is a disruptive innovation, but not a panacea for the labor market.
These are some of the findings of an introduction to demographics prepared by Bank of America’s global research team.
To get old
Emerging markets age before they get rich. Emerging markets are where aging is happening most rapidly. By 2050, the MS will be home to almost 80% of the world’s population aged 65 and over, of which more than 23% is due to China alone. Yet only about 30% of workers in emerging markets are covered by some form of retirement income plan. Emerging markets face a $106 billion retirement savings gap as their population ages, or 3 times their aggregate GDP.
Each worker has a retirement savings gap of $40,000. Financing pensions is even more difficult for these countries, as they lack developed social protection systems, generous public pensions and strong personal resources. Structural trends of a smaller workforce, lower interest rates and deteriorating fiscal balances all threaten pension sustainability. The retirement savings gap highlights the need for personal financing backed by insurance protection.
The future of work
The future of work includes workplace childcare, fertility and family benefits. Employers who support access to affordable, quality childcare will thrive because it ensures children have access to early childhood education and the specific challenges facing parents are addressed.
Fertility-related benefits, such as IVF and paid surrogacy, are increasingly common in employee benefits. In the United States, between 2019 and 2020, employers adding family building benefits jumped 500%, with some employers offering up to $200,000 to cover the cost of family building. Independent providers of managing fertility benefits for employers would benefit from the rapid growth of the fertility market.
Several Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) factors are already impacting the global economy, related to race, gender, disabilities, and more. Cultural and institutional bottlenecks and gaps exist within these social groups. Unlocking them could generate significant economic benefits and alleviate some of the challenges associated with an aging and shrinking workforce.
It will take 267 years to achieve gender parity in education and employment from 2021, but flexible working practices and employment-friendly laws can help.
The cost of not filling these gaps is already high. Gender and racial prejudice lead to
labor market disparities and constrain the economy. A bad DEI has cost $70 billion since 1990: Closing gender and racial gaps would have generated $2.6 billion more in economic output in 2019 and the cumulative gains from 1990 would have been around $70 billion of dollars.
Although self-employment or the work economy is here to stay, it is not a panacea to labor market problems.
The gig economy is shaking up the traditional world of work. But labor force participation is expected to change, as some adopt a hybrid style or even withdraw from work altogether. There will also be a structural shift in the mode of participation, from the routine 9 to 5 to an independent (“gigs”) model, and COVID has helped accelerate this trend. Around 162 million people, or 20-30% of the working-age population in the US and EU, are thought to be engaged in “self-employment” work.