India, with over 65% of its population below the age of 35, will supply more than half of potential workforce over the coming decade in Asia, which is grappling with an ageing population, according to a report.
India will, however, have to first equip its workforce with necessary skills to contribute to the national economy in order for the country to reap dividends of its demographic potential, said a report called “Demographics fuelling Asia’s shifting balance of power” by Deloitte.
“India is among a handful of south Asian countries that sits on a demographic gold mine,” the report said, adding that the country has a median population age of 27.3 years, compared to 35 years for China and around 47 years for Japan. Deloitte India lead economist Anis Chakravarty said: “India will account for more than half of the increase in Asia’s workforce in the coming decade, but this isn’t just a story of more workers… ”
These new workers will be much better trained and educated than the existing Indian workforce, he added. “There will be rising economic potential coming alongside that, thanks to an increased share of women in the workforce, as well as an increased ability and interest in working for longer. The consequences for businesses are huge,” Chakravarty said.
The report, however, said, “In order for India to reap the dividends of its demographic potential, it has to first equip its workforce with the necessary skills to contribute to the national economy.” The country needs to pay special attention to skilling and re-skilling its workforce with a focus on the changing nature of today’s jobs with the invasion of machines and improvement in robotics. “With more than 65% of the population below the age of 35, India will rise as an economic superpower, supplying more than half of Asia’s potential workforce over the coming decade,” it added.
According to the report, Asia’s elderly population will rise from 365 million in 2017 to more than 520 million in 2027. By 2042, there will be more over-65s in Asia than the populations of the Eurozone and North America combined, it said. To manage ageing populations, the report suggested steps such as increasing the retirement age, welcoming migrants and increasing productivity and skill development.