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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

More on demographics

On the BBC web site today, there was a brief news item that highlighted that Germany's birth rate had fallen yet again whilst the death rate had increased. As readers of this site will be aware I have an interest in demographics especially as parts of the world especially the Middle East are more fecund than Europe. In fact for the population to be maintained every woman has to produce 2.5 children. Nowhere in Europe is that rate being maintained. So it is likely that in order for Europe to survive economically we will need to encourage immigration from beyond Europe and why the EU needs to have Turkey as a member so that it can provide some of the workforce that we need.

What that of course means for law firms is that the war for talent will intensify and knowledge and the sharing of it will become of more and more important to knowledge based firms. It may also mean that if the war is hot, then as people become more experienced, then they are likely to demand from concessions from the managers of firms in terms of work life balance and a move away from the emphasis on the billing hour and the targets that they are set. My colleague Bruce MacEwen has highlighted to me in the past the insanity of the 2100 and in a couple of instances with very senior partners putting close to 3000 hours a year.

As I've said in earlier blogs demographics are like glaciers, they move slowly but have inexorable results.

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