The people you need to attract as both members and employees—and the people your industry will need to engage if it is to continue to thrive—are more diverse than ever across every demographic category. At the same time, how people connect and support each other is also shifting. The drivers of change below explore how these shifts will affect the workforce and association membership in the years ahead.
Most of the world’s societies are aging, with the shares of elderly poised to rise steeply in both the advanced economies and most emerging economies. This could reshape political, financial, and social priorities as countries grapple with issues related to aging populations, such as rising dependency ratios, retirement and the workforce, and costs of caring for older citizens. These issues will play out for associations in areas such as workforce and benefits.
In many countries, changing workplace needs, women’s educational advances, and the reduction of discrimination could enable women to dominate more professions. Associations have a unique and important role to play in promoting women in the workplace and making their presence visible. Gender equity discussions are important considerations in policy decisions and external communication.
Immigration has become the central driver of American population growth—and will reshape not only demographics but also values and attitudes in the decades ahead. For associations, this will result in a more diverse membership with new ideas, expectations, and needs.
The Next-Gen Professionals
Millennials are now the largest generational cohort in the workforce, and generation Z is right behind them. These next-gen professionals are the future of associations and, contrary to some conventional wisdom, they are willing to both join and stay with organizations that meet their career development needs. Organizations will need to provide the kinds of training, mentoring, content, and other services that next-gen professionals value most, encouraging engagement that leads to loyalty.
Social media, telecommuting, digital entertainment, and shifting social norms are reshaping patterns of socializing, both online and in person. A growing percentage of social interaction is now digitally mediated. Work life and social life are increasingly occurring in the context of online social tribes and communities. The need to change one’s physical location to socialize and work with others is declining.
Deep structural changes in the world of work—automation, the gig economy, and broader economic trends—are shifting the balance of power between employers and workers in ways that favor employers. Millions of people are finding their livelihoods put at risk by 30-hour workweeks, smart machines, and the erosion of middle-class occupations, among other trends. New kinds of entities are arising to support workers’ rights and protections in the face of inexorable change.
To help staff and volunteer leaders explore what these drivers of change might mean for your association and industry, ASAE ForesightWorks offers the Demographics and Membership Action Set. The set contains all six briefs in this topic area and an introduction designed to help you work with the briefs, both on your own and with a group.