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Under Pressure: Disruptive Demographic Change, its Impact on Labour Markets and the Clear Path Forward

A man stands at a podium infront of a screen
2 minutes

By Esha Rana

Did you know that Canada’s working-age population has been decreasing? Or that, in comparison, the number of adults aged 65 and older is increasing? The effects of these shifting percentages might not be apparent now, but cumulatively, these changes will spell a demographic and societal change that Canada—and other countries around the world—need to reckon with.

To stay up to date on this significant development and inspire conversation and action, Humber’s Office of Research & Innovation (ORI) hosted a public talk, Under Pressure: Disruptive Demographic Change, its Impact on Labour Markets and the Clear Path Forward led by demographic expert Bradley Schurman. The event was held on October 4, 2023, at the Barrett Centre of Technology and Innovation (Barrett CTI), Humber College.

Dr. Ginger Grant, dean of the Office of Research & Innovation, speaks into a microphone
Dr. Ginger Grant, dean of the Office of Research & Innovation, gave the opening remarks at the Under Pressure event.

Dr. Ginger Grant, ORI’s Dean, gave the opening remarks and shed light on Aging in Community Education and Research Hub (ACER). Bradley’s talk was in coherence with ORI’s recent research initiative—ACER. ORI is conducting innovative research to empower older adults to remain engaged in and connected to their communities.

In his talk, Bradley drew from his years of consulting, researching and strategizing to share three key messages:

  1. Outside of climate change, demographic change is one of the biggest threats to societies worldwide.
  2. Age is an integral component of a workplace guided by equity, diversity and inclusivity (EDI).
  3. Employing older workers will create multi-dimensional benefits by improving public health, creating new consumers and building a tax base to protect social welfare.

The talk ended with a spirited Q&A session where attendees asked their most pressing questions and sought feedback to roadblocks in addressing this issue at a larger scale.

Müge Abac, project analyst at the Office of Research & Innovation, attended the event and states that demographic age is underestimated in business. “Bradley’s presentation, featuring valuable insights, served as a reminder that shifts in demographics can give rise to innovative opportunities for companies,” she said. “For innovation to thrive, it is crucial for companies to go out into the field, analyze the changing demographics and its impact on their business by listening to both their employees and customers.”

Bradley speaks to a large room full of people sitting at table
 Bradley Schurman outlines demographic changes and their impact to attendees at Under Pressure.

As a longtime observer and expert on global demographic shifts, Bradley shared his insights and predictions about how the population composition will change and the effects this will have on the economy and the workforce. The talk was part of the Office of Research and Innovation’s new initiative ‘Aging in Community Education & Research (ACER).’ ACER’s mission is to conduct innovative research to create, implement and evaluate solutions that strengthen community-based supports so that older adults feel empowered to remain engaged in their communities.

Watch the recording of Under Pressure: