Migrants are the world’s third largest economy, ahead of Japan

What if the 280 million migrant workers in the world formed a country? This fictional entity would rank fourth in the world by population and third by economy. The GDP produced by all the migrant workers in the world reaches 9,000 billion dollars, less than that of the United States and China, but more than that of Japan, calculates a study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

In reality, “the total value of migration is likely much higher as this figure does not take into account the total economic impact of migrants as consumers, entrepreneurs and innovators”, warn the authors of the study. They estimate that 20,000 billion dollars will be produced by migrants in 2050. The countries that receive the most migrants are the United States, Germany and Saudi Arabia.

“Migration is not only essential for future economic well-being but also represents an important opportunity today”, underline the BCG and the OIM. And first for countries in demographic decline, which are expected to lose 345 million adults of working age by 2050, and are already suffering from labor shortages.

Labor shortages cost $1 trillion a year

By looking at the thirty largest economies, the BCG found 30 million vacancies. They cost the economy dearly: 1,000 billion dollars a year, or 3 billion a day, a little more than 1% of the world’s wealth. The countries losing the most workers are India, Mexico and Russia.

If the sectors most affected are the manufacturing industry, information and communication technologies or health, the BCG points out that “These shortages are not limited to highly skilled workers”.

He gives the example of Germany where “only around 20% of vacancies require a university-level education” while 60% require only “professional skills” and that 20% “suitable for workers with less than secondary education”.

Companies that play diversity more profitable

Foreign talent also brings innovation to the economies that host them and to the companies that employ them. According to BCG, “Companies with more immigrants in their management have 15% higher profitability on average”.

But if 95% of business leaders are aware of the need for diversified teams in their organizations, and if 72% emphasize the benefits for the host countries (against only 41% in public opinion, etc.), they are not than 5% to take effective measures in favor of diversity.

In fact, this has progressed little between 2012 and 2020, with still 26% of migrants among the senior executives of large companies. At the same time, the share of women has increased significantly, rising from 18% to 26%.


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