What do these 'Big Trends' mean for HR?

I admit it, I am a total mark for Business Insider.

A superb mix of business, tech, culture, politics, economics, sports, celebrity gossip - all delivered with bludgeon-like ridiculous volume probably running upwards of 100 posts each day.

Recently BI ran one of their guaranteed to generate a ton of page views slideshows that actually drove me to click through all (70!) distinct pages. Titled 'The US 20: Twenty Big Trends That Will Dominate America's Future', it was just the right blend of data, speculation, hype, and occasional insight that makes BI a go-to site.

The entire slideshow is worth a read click-through, but in case you are one of the 'I hate internet slideshow' types, I will spare you all the clicks and page loads and give you just 5 of the 20 Big Trends from the BI piece, the ones that might have the most direct impact to you as a HR, Talent, of HR Technology pro.

Trend #2 - America is Aging - Key Statistic: The median working age in America is 42.1, up from 35.4 in 1986.

This one is sort of a easy selection, I've blogged about it before here, but is bears repeating as the population ages the impacts on hiring, retention, work practices, learning, training, and just about everything else that happens at work will be impacted.

Trend #5 - The Epic Rise of Student Loan Debt - Key Statistic: Student loan debt recently topped $1 Trillion, making it the largest category of consumer debt other than mortgages in the United States.

Impact on the workplace? More younger workers stressed over their personal finances, more willingness to jump ship for a few more $$ somewhere else, and more likelihood of younger workers taking second jobs and taking work on the side. 

Trend #13 - The U.S. Manufacturer Roars Back - Key Statistic, (really more of an observation), increased productivity combined with cheaper sources of domestic energy could continue to spur sustained growth in U.S. manufacturing.

The State of manufacturing in America is constantly in flux, but we are starting to see more and more pieces about the return or renaissance of American manufacturing. A recent piece in Foreign Policy offers additional compelling reasons for the renewed strength in domestic manufacturing like robotics, artificial intelligence, and 3-D printing. No matter the root causes, if more organizations see benefits in re-shoring manufacturing, talent professionals will be under considerable pressure to find, attract, recruit, develop, and retain the kind of employees and leaders needed to make it happen.

Trend #17 - American Cities as Economic Juggernauts - Key Statistic - Urban areas account for 84% of US GDP

National growth will continue to be driven by cities, both large and medium-size. It makes sense that talent will chase after said growth and opportunity. If you are a talent pro in an organization not in or near one of these urban centers it could get even harder to lure the people you need from the areas or higher growth to your sleepy little town.

Trend #18 - Immigrants Driving Product Innovation - Key Statistic - News Corp, (and others), investing heavily in new properties aimed at the growing Hispanic market

If your organization is among the many that will seek growth and market share from an increasingly diverse set of customers then does your staffing, development, and leadership models adequately reflect the markets you are competing in? Do you have the right people that can understand and effectively service these markets?

Ok, enough of these 'Big Trends', I think you get the idea. Organizations, and certainly the people inside organizations directly responsible for shaping their workforces, (that's you), have to be aware of the environment in which they operate. Economics, demographics, heck even politics - these things do matter, even if they seem kind of far off, or only the concerns of global mega-companies.

What do you think, what are some of the big-picture trends impacting the work you do as an HR and Talent pro?

To read the orginal article, please click here.

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