Human Capital and the Information Technology and Communications Revolution

Abstract

Developed countries have increasingly faced a challenge of developing their human capital to ensure sustainable economic growth. Such has been the case due to an aging workforce and changes in the global economic arrangement resulting from factors such as information and communication revolution. This paper identifies how such factors have contributed to the challenges Canada faces in developing appropriate levels of human capital. The paper considers the role played by low fertility rate, early retirement, aging workforce and net immigration. It also highlights how the revolution of information and communication technology affects the development of human capital for developed countries such as Canada. Through such assessment, the paper finds that Canada’s multicultural attributes offers it a core resource in solving the human capital challenges it faces

Key words. Canada, human capital, multiculturalism, globalization

Introduction

Many developed countries face a challenge of developing appropriate levels of human capital to sustain their economic growth. This has been a result of factors such as declining birth rates, aging population of the workforce and early retirement in some countries. In Canada, for instance, at the turn of the Millennium, the median age of retirement was estimated to have dropped by 3.9 years from the retirement age in 1976 (R.A Malatest & Associates Ltd., 2003, p. i). Additionally, the proportion of people who retired before the age of 60 between 1997 and 2000 was up to 43% compared to 29% in the period between 1987 and 1990 (R.A Malatest & Associates Ltd., 2003, p. i). The early-retirement phenomenon is occurring even with observations indicating a growing population of people within the retirement age as more of the people of the baby boom generation (1946-1966) get into retirement age (Statistics Canada, 2010, p. 44). On the contrary, the generations that followed the baby boomer generation are smaller due to lower fertility rate that followed in the subsequent decades (Statistics Canada, 2010, p.44-45). Projected fertility rates derived from extrapolation of the rates observed up to 2007, taking an assumption of a medium rate, remain below population replacement level of 2.10 children per woman (Statistics Canada, 2010, p. 20).
With such statistics, Canada faces a challenge of maintaining a pool of human capital necessary for sustainable economic growth. For instance, the growing population of retiring population as compared to the working population (Statistics Canada, 2010, p. 44-45) presents a challenge to maintaining social programs that cater for such an aged population. This phenomenon is taking place even as globalization, trade liberalization and revolution of the information technology and communications are redefining the social, economic and cultural interactions around the world. This paper assesses the changing status of human capital in Canada and its effect on the economic outcomes of Country. Secondly, the paper will evaluate how the revolution of information and communication technology has contributed and continue to influence the changes in human capital in Canada.

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