Borders are no longer restrictive. Companies are not constrained by the physical boundaries of the countries where they are located and can now choose from the best talent available to build innovative and competitive global workforces. Many workers in emerging countries are as skilled as those in developed countries; women outpace men in higher education; and older workers are staying in their jobs longer. Businesses no longer have a “typical” worker— diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity and religion abounds within organisations.
To understand how the make-up of the global workforce has shifted and will continue to do so, it is crucial to first explore the forces that are driving these changes. Expansion of transnational companies, migration patterns and technological advances are the characteristics of an increasingly globalised world and economic system. Of course, with the increased diversity and internationalisation of the workforce comes the unavoidable clash between personal culture and corporate culture. Additionally, there are new challenges associated with global operations—including human and labour rights violations, corruption and local regulations—that have forced companies to look for new ways to manage risk while increasing opportunity.