Insufficient labor force and aging affect the global manufacturing industry and affect economic growth. For this reason, industrial reform is imperative


  When the workers are getting older

  As the aging of the population continues to deepen, the economic and social development of some countries and regions has become more and more obvious, and the industrial structure has undergone profound changes as a result.

  To this end, some countries have introduced a number of policy measures to alleviate the negative impact of accelerated aging.

  one

  The latest report released by the Korea Economic Research Institute shows that as the aging population intensifies, the proportion of workers in the South Korean manufacturing industry who are over 50 years old has almost doubled within ten years.

The aging of the labor force is expected to severely impact the manufacturing industry, the Korean "economic engine".

  According to the report, between 2010 and 2020, the proportion of workers in the manufacturing industry over the age of 50 increased from 15.7% to 30.1%; the average age of the Korean manufacturing labor force in 2020 is 42.5 years old, an increase of 3.3 years from 2011; if the aging trend Continuing, by around 2026, the average age of South Korean manufacturing workers will reach 44.9 years.

According to the Korea Economic Research Institute, the aging of the Korean manufacturing labor force has "reached a serious degree."

  Accompanying the phenomenon of the aging of the manufacturing industry is the aging of the demographic structure of South Korea's entire society.

  In 2017, South Korea's population of 65 years and over accounted for more than 14% of the total population, and South Korea has entered an aging society.

There are reports that South Korea may enter a super-aging society in 2025, and the proportion of the population aged 65 and over may increase to 20% by then.

  In addition to the increase in the age of practitioners, the aging of society often means a shortage of labor, and the latter is more deadly for social and economic development, especially for industries such as manufacturing that require the scale and physical fitness of practitioners. huge influence.

  German Federal Labor Agency Director Detlef Scheler said on August 24 that with the development of population aging and other trends, the German working-age population will decrease by nearly 150,000 within one year this year, and this trend will continue in the next few years. Intensified.

  He warned that Germany might face a serious labor shortage, "from nurses to air-conditioning repairers, to logistics personnel, and even academics-human resource shortages are common in all industries."

  two

  In some countries or regions, the direct economic consequences of the aging population structure have gradually emerged.

  "South Korea's manufacturing industry is beginning to age." South Korean media previously reported that research has shown that the growth rate of total productivity in South Korea's manufacturing industry has dropped from 7.3% between 1995 and 2000 to 3.1% between 2010 and 2013. The contribution rate is also declining.

  According to a report released by the Korea Economic Research Institute a few days ago, in view of the fact that the wages of workers over the age of 50 in the South Korean manufacturing industry are increasing at a much higher rate than those in their 30s, the aging labor force will increase the economic burden of enterprises.

The reason why the wages of the senior-age group rose faster than that of the young and middle-aged group has nothing to do with production efficiency, but because the wages increase with the length of service and age.

  Experts from the Korea Economic Research Institute said that the aging of the manufacturing industry will lead to a decline in national competitiveness, increase income polarization and youth poverty.

  The international investment bank Goldman Sachs conducted research on 40 countries or regions around the world from 1996 to 2014 and found that the aging of the population will lead to an increase in service consumption and a decrease in commodity consumption.

The slowdown in commodity consumption will cause the already widespread problem of overcapacity to become more serious, which means that the manufacturing industry will face severe challenges.

  Goldman Sachs believes that for emerging Asian economies, in the next 20 years, the aging of the population will reduce the proportion of commodities in total consumption by 8 percentage points.

  At present, the negative impact of population aging on economic growth has been widely confirmed. Among them, the mechanism that has been clarified is that aging will reduce the labor force and inhibit the growth of total factor productivity. Once the economic and industrial structure cannot be successfully transformed , Economic growth will face a greater impact.

  three

  The population outlook report released by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in 2019 predicts that by 2050, the number of countries or regions whose population peaks and begins to continue to decline will increase to 55; during the same period, the world's population is aging, with the population aged 65 and over accounting for The ratio will increase from the current 9% to 16%, becoming the fastest-growing age group. By then, the population of 65 years and over in Europe and North America will account for a quarter of the total population.

  In the context of slowing world population growth and peak populations in many countries, the shortage of labor has become a global problem.

To deal with the shortage of human resources, industrial reform is imperative.

  The application of artificial intelligence technology can alleviate the potential problems caused by the decline in the size of the labor force to a considerable extent, and the realization of automation in the manufacturing industry is a major trend.

A previous research report issued by the American Economic Association believes that robots and artificial intelligence are expected to offset the negative effects of the aging labor force.

  A joint study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston University found that between 1993 and 2014, the country with the highest investment in robots was the country with the fastest aging process.

The data shows that for every 10% increase in the aging rate, the number of robots corresponding to every 1,000 workers increases by 0.9.

  In addition, with the substantial growth of the aging labor population, some workplaces are also undergoing aging reforms.

It is reported that as early as 2007, BMW redesigned the gearbox production line in order to adapt to the increase in the overall age of its employees, which was expected to occur in 2017, and introduced wooden floors that can alleviate joint strain, special shoes, and use. Adjustable magnifying glass to handle small parts.

These fine adjustments can help companies increase the productivity of older workers to the level of younger workers with minimal cost.

  Liang Fan

Keywords: