Global trends, affecting all regions within the labour sectors

 Global trends, affecting all regions, set the context for education and training today
and in the future. A selected number of global drivers of change are considered here:
namely, the supply-side challenges of demographic change, educational attainment and
commitments to inclusive growth, and the demand-oriented challenges of globalization
of markets, technological innovation and climate change.
Demographic change
Worldwide, the rate of population growth is declining, though it remains high in some
countries and regions. Some countries face ageing societies. Others have burgeoning
youth populations. 

Taken as a whole, the world population is marked by declining fertility and rising
life expectancy. The primary consequence of both trends is population ageing. The
proportion of the population aged 60 years and over will rise in the more developed
regions from 22 per cent in 2010 to 33 per cent in 2050, and in the less developed regions
from 9 per cent to 20 per cent.3
The population of working age (25–59 years) will decline in the more developed
regions between 2010 and 2050 in both absolute and proportional terms, falling from
49 to 41 per cent of the total population. In contrast, the working-age population in the
less developed regions will grow slowly as a proportion of the whole, from 43 per cent
in 2010 to 46 per cent in 2050.4
These trends have three major implications for education, skills and training.

 First, economic growth will depend even more heavily than today on the productivity of the workforce, complemented by rising labour force participation rates, especially among women and older workers. The challenge of lifelong learning, particularly
among ageing but economically active persons, will increase in salience correspondingly.

 For example, China will experience rapid population ageing in the next few
decades and so will have to maintain and upgrade the skills of a growing pool of mature
and older workers in addition to making further progress in formal education.
3 United Nations, World Population Prospects: The 2008 revision (New York, Department of Economic and Social
Affairs, 2008).
4 Ibid.
Part i Global drivers of change:
opportunities and challenges
for training and skills development
8 A Skilled Workforce for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth
Second, in several regions the growing size of the youth cohort will continue to
challenge both education and training capacities and job creation rates as more young
people enter the world of work. Everywhere, young people with low skill levels are
finding it hard to secure jobs.
Third, international flows of migrant workers will continue to grow, raising challenges concerning fair access to training and how to fill skill gaps in some countries
without creating them in others.

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