How immigration is writing the next chapter for global economies

The story of immigration and its impact on the labor force isn't about one country or one policy; it's about a global shift in demographics, economies, and societies. Countries across the globe are grappling with the challenges of maintaining a vibrant and productive workforce amidst aging populations and declining birth rates. However, immigration isn’t just an economic or a demographic problem. It involves so much more: navigating through unknown waters, confronting fears, and discovering the value of new connections. It highlights the necessity of collaboration, understanding, and adaptation in crafting a cohesive society where every individual can contribute to a shared future. Allianz Research’s newly published report offers a glimpse into how immigration could be the linchpin in sustaining not just economies, but the very fabric of societies worldwide.
Across the globe, countries are facing a demographic dilemma. From Asia to Europe, the workforce is aging, and birth rates are on a downward trajectory. This isn't a distant future scenario but a present reality, with significant implications for economic growth and social stability. In Germany, for example, the working-age population is projected to shrink by 23% by 2050 without immigration, a trend mirrored in varying degrees across other Western economies and even in Asia and Latin America.

In the heart of Europe, Germany epitomizes the challenge at hand. Without immigration, its workforce, aged between 20 and 66, would plummet to 39.4 million by 2050. The ramifications? A potential increase in retirement age to 68, a push toward full-time employment of part-time employees, and an urgent need to boost labor force participation rates across the board. Yet, it's clear that immigration alone cannot rectify these issues. A holistic approach—enhancing participation among women, older workers, and immigrants—is vital for a balanced labor market.

Germany's reliance on immigration is not a new narrative; it has been the backbone of population growth since 1972. The influx of refugees and asylum seekers in recent years has not resolved the labor shortage. The labor force participation rates of these groups often lag behind, spotlighting the necessity and need for successful integration strategies.

A comprehensive integration of immigrants into the labor market emerges as a critical lever for economic sustainability. Allianz researchers suggests extensive policy reforms—ranging from education and language training to legal adjustments aimed at easing immigration. Germany's Skilled Immigration Act is a step in the right direction, offering a blueprint for other nations facing similar challenges.

The disparity that may exist in education and language proficiency among immigrant populations underscores a significant barrier to labor market integration. Addressing these educational gaps, coupled with fostering German language skills, is paramount for not just economic participation but social integration as well.

The future of the global workforce hinges on our collective ability to navigate the complexities of immigration, demographic changes, and labor market needs. The Allianz Research report offers not just an analysis, but a call to action—for Germany, for economies around the world, and for the global community. 

As nations strive to balance economic needs with social cohesion, the role of immigration in shaping the future labor force cannot be overstated. This narrative, while rooted in data and policy recommendations, is ultimately about envisioning a future where diversity, integration, and economic sustainability go hand in hand.

For an in-depth look at the data and policy recommendations, download the entire report here.

The Allianz Group is one of the world's leading insurers and asset managers with around 125 million* private and corporate customers in nearly 70 countries. Allianz customers benefit from a broad range of personal and corporate insurance services, ranging from property, life and health insurance to assistance services to credit insurance and global business insurance. Allianz is one of the world’s largest investors, managing around 737 billion euros** on behalf of its insurance customers. Furthermore, our asset managers PIMCO and Allianz Global Investors manage about 1.7 trillion euros** of third-party assets. Thanks to our systematic integration of ecological and social criteria in our business processes and investment decisions, we are among the leaders in the insurance industry in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In 2023, over 157,000 employees achieved total business volume of 161.7 billion euros and an operating profit of 14.7 billion euros for the group.
* Including non-consolidated entities with Allianz customers.
** As of December 31, 2023.
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