Globalization means the change of the global economy, which leads to cross-national operations, also including the operation of the different production factors. This change is an already long-lasting process, but one production factor was long time not changed significantly in these cross-national operations, namely the labor force of the different countries. Goods have been traded; companies have been shifted to countries with cheaper conditions, whole productions have been outsourced, here and there, there where people attracted from other countries due to skills shortage, but most of the time the “own” labor force of the single countries has been used.
But now this has changed. In nowadays really all factors of production, including also the labor force, are included in this homogeneous, globalized economic system. But what does that mean for the different countries?
On the one hand, the newcomers in the world economy, like China or India, expect a lot from this new situation. They get the chance to earn more reasonable wages and a lot of new opportunities get reachable. So for them the transformation of the world economy implies mostly a big chance and many of these newcomer countries already use these chances impressively for their advantage.
On the other hand, for many employees of the Western countries, this development has a totally converse meaning, which takes the last optimism of the previous years. Due to the ongoing development, which also implies an increasing multiplicity of well skilled and cheap employees, the western workers have to be more competitive than ever before. This fact implies for them a new degree of a mostly unknown feeling, namely uncertainty. People have to be flexible, also related to their work place at least in their own country, if not even in the whole world. They have to be especially skilled. Especially, they have to be able to communicate in other languages and also wages get more flexible, what mostly implies a slow development to lower wages for the Western countries.
Sure, this new situation offers also a lot of new advantages and chances, also for the Western countries, for people which like to travel and enjoy the feeling of being flexible and which love to learn new languages and which like to acquire knowledge about other cultures, but the competition is higher than ever. What once was considered as special qualification, for very committed students and employees, like speaking various languages, making a semester abroad or working in foreign countries, will become normal and self-evident and not adapting to this development will definitely sooner or later cause disadvantages on the labor market. So now it is up to the Western countries labor force to stay competitive in this reallocation of activity areas and to leverage this challenging development.