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The Role of Public Administrators in Responding to Changing Workforce Demographics: Global Challenges to Preparing a Diverse Workforce

Author: BARBARA HEWINS-MARONEY and ETHEL WILLIAMS
Published in PAQ, Vol. 37 No. 3

In the next 10 years, employment skills and personnel in the United States are expected to continue to shift. The new workforce will be filled with a large number of new entrants, many of whom will lack the professional savvy to negotiate in the active, intergovernmental arenas. The majority of the new workers will be people of color, immigrants, women, and the disabled. Additionally, the changing workforce demographics will yield a sharp increase in the number of workers under 25 and over 45 and a decline in the number of workers between these two groups (Rogers, Toder, & Jones, 2000). Many of the demographic challenges faced in the U.S. workforce are also being faced globally. Integrating the new workers into the public sector workforce will challenge the current way public administrators manage the public enterprise. Although the roles and responsibilities of public administrators may not change dramatically, ways of conducting business in the public sector will morph as technology and interdependency - organizational, regional, and global - take on even greater importance. How to best prepare, integrate, and respond to the diversified workforce will be the major challenge. How public administrators around the globe handle this challenge will result in how responsive and effective government becomes. This paper examines the challenges posed by workforce diversification globally and explores possible approaches to successfully meet the administrative challenges of change. It finds that public administrators worldwide have a pivotal role in making the changes necessary to successfully manage diversity and transition the new workforce entrants into productive employment.

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