Crystal Ball for 2015: Annual Economic Outlook Takeaways

by Martha Watt

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I recently had the pleasure of attending the annual Economic Outlook for 2015 hosted by The Executives’ Club of Chicago, and had my ear tuned for what might be on the near horizon for Learning and Change Management. And there was plenty to pay attention to!

This event, moderated by national columnist and financial author Terry Savage, featured three leading global economists:

  • Bob Froehlich, Director of American Realty Capital,
  • David Kelly, Managing Director and Chief Global Strategist of JP Morgan Funds, and
  • Diane Swonk, Chief Economist and Senior Managing Director of Mesirow Financial Services.

The big takeaway: 2015 is likely to be a year of job growth and a strong US economy. A growing global economy will have a positive impact on the US as well, particularly a predicted rebound in Europe and the ripple effect of declining oil prices.

In the aftermath of the devastating recession and wave of job loss starting in 2008, the US job outlook is rebounding too. Employers are searching for strong talent to lead and maintain the knowledge base of the large Boomer population that is expected to retire at a quickening pace. At the same time, economists are discovering that many other Boomers, not yet ready to retire,  are choosing to leave corporate roles for more flexible positions that let them generate income while still having time to travel and do all the things they have long longed to do. For employers seeking to fill a growing number of jobs, good talent is becoming increasingly scarce.

The aging population is living longer than past generations and industries growing to support Boomers are growing as well, including: healthcare, financial management/insurance services, and tourism/travel. Dr. Bob even mentioned robotics, a key industry that is turning the world upside down across the board.

What does this all have to do with Learning and Change Management? Everything! Be prepared for change. Lots of it. Are you ready to address workforce trends such as:

  • Multi-cultural/globalization;
  • Multi-generational workplaces;
  • Gender equality;
  • Online social networking; and
  • Video and digital marketing

And are you ready to adapt to the fast-changing industries, noted above, that are growing to support Boomers as they age?

Motivating and leveraging people to accomplish new corporate strategies is more critical than ever. For companies to accomplish this well involves thoughtful planning to understand how their people learn and change, as well as pacing the change in a reasonable way for their teams.

2015 will be an exciting time for the people side of business. CARA continues to focus on helping our clients with such human performance challenges, and providing the best learning and change talent in the market!