Don’t let the title fool you, there are many questions unanswered, this question is one we all must deal with, and we need to embrace the solution, because we most likely won’t like it. This question has absolutely nothing to do with technology, but technology may play a role in roughly 30 years, to help find an answer to the question. This blog post is primarily information taken from the British Columbia Labour Market Outlook for 2009 – 2019. Stay with me because the problem and or the question yet to be answered impacts every country in the world.

Now there is talk of employment growth in every country and labour sector related to technology, in my home province 1,126,000 job openings are expected over the ten year period from 2009 – 2019. Encouraging right? Approximately 60% of job openings (676,000) will be due to the replacement demand generated by retirements and deaths. The remaining 40% of job openings (450,000) will be due to the expansion demand created by new job openings that arise as a result of economic growth. The projected average annual employment growth for B.C. is 1.8 % over the above ten year period.

ironically, the majority of the population live in an area called the Lower Mainland, made up of Cities & Townships, Vancouver, North Vancouver, New Westminster, Richmond, Surrey, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge/Haney, Mission, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Langley and Delta. This is roughly 2.5 million people, the total population of the province is just over 3.4 million. You can see the dilemma.

The greatest growth is anticipated to be across the province, the North Coast and Nechako areas will see a 2.8 % increase while the Lower Mainland / Vancouver Island will only see a 1.8 % increase in growth. The top three occupation groups with the most expected job openings are:

1.) Sales and Service Occupations

2.) Trades, Transport and Equipment Operators and Related Occupations

3.) Business, Finance and Administration Occupations

Ironically, the health sector is not in the top three.

As you can see, there is a trend being presented here, and it is much the same around the world. It is expected that nearly 70% of job openings in the future will require some form of post-secondary education or higher. The next issue to tackle is the cost of that education, it’s higher than most can afford.

Let’s get to the bigger problem, today we have a the largest sector of the worlds population (Baby Boomers) about to retire, the generation behind them is 75% smaller than the Boomers.There isn’t enough workers to fill the vacancies these boomers will leave behind, how will the work get done and who will look after them? Another concern with this picture is, our failing medical systems, the boomers will be a huge burden, and there won’t be enough people to provide this care the boomers will require.

What will we do and how will we do it? There is the question unanswered, we still haven’t figure it out for the most part, well, there is one way to solve the problem. It’s called immigration, starting in 2016, migrants are expected to account for a larger share of the new labour supply in B.C. than new labour market entrants. This is not just British Columbia’s problem, it’s a global problem, imagine….every Baby Boomer is now over 50 years of age! Almost 50% of Canada’s population is over 50 years old, soon to be replaced by migrant workers, that’s not a bad thing, at least there are workers available to solve the problem the work force is facing.

How will technology play a role, well….Nanotechnology, it’s expected that this technology will allow humans to live forever, perfect health, and eventually we will birth perfect babies. This is many years off, but it will eventually will be introduced and many will embrace it. Nanotechnology is expected to cure diseases like Diabetes, Cancer and so on, who wouldn’t want to live longer knowing you would be healthy.