WSI Mitteilungen

: Issue 01/2018

WSI-Mitteilungen 1/2018, pp. 3-11

Ulrich Walwei

Trends in the employment of older workers: Frameworks for personnel policy


During the last two decades the labour market situation for older workers in Germany has significantly improved in so far that older workers stay longer in the labour market and particularly with their last employer. However, older persons still face difficulties when trying to reenter the labour market after a period of unemployment in spite of improved absorption levels on the labour market in general. The picture does not change even if one considers the fact that firms which have recruited older workers report positively about the performance of their newly recruited employees. The article shows that firms cannot act autonomously regarding their personnel policies One has to take into account interactions with labour supply and context related factors. Demographic change determines the level and the age structure of labour supply to a considerable extent. Labour market institutions, e. g. the pension scheme legislation, influence how far the supply of labour can be utilized. Last but not least, the quality of labour supply also depends on the employability of older workers. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 1/2018, pp. 12-19

Martin Brussig

Extended working lives: driving force, limits, and social inequalities


For more than a decade, the labour market participation of older workers has been significantly increasing in Germany. This development is driven by reforms in pensions and labour market policy, and in particular by the regulation of retirement transitions. These reforms provide limited opportunities for early retirement. However, the chances for workers to reach a regular old-age pension at statutory pension age directly after leaving employment (and not unemployment, non-employment or sickness) differ with respect to the exposure to specific risks. Work strains, unemployment and sickness are the decisive risk factors. After the closure of early retirement, these risk factors exert a stronger influence on retirement transitions than before, when workers exposed to varying levels of strain at workwith and without health issues, and both employed and unemployed workers alike, could retire into early retirement programmes. The author examines which demands labour market and welfare policy needs to meet in order to alleviate social risks at the retirement transition—without reducing statutory retirement age again. He pleads for a trias of prevention, rehabilitation and social security. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 1/2018, pp. 20-27

Lutz Bellmann, Sandra Dummert, Ute Leber

Stagnation of age-appropriate personnel measures despite a rising number of older employees


The number of older employees in German establishments has increased over the last years. In order to maintain the employability until retirement, establishments can implement personnel measures such as further training or health promotion. The article investigates how widespread such measures are and how they have developed over time. The empirical analysis is based on data from the IAB Establishment Panel, a representative survey of establishments of all sectors and sizes, as well as on data from a specific survey of establishments within the chemical sector. It is shown that the rising employment of older workers is not going along with an increasing use of age-appropriate personnel measures. Establishments seem to favour general solutions directed at the entire staff over measures that are targeted at older employees. Compared to other industries, establishments within the chemical sector use age-appropriate personnel measures more frequently. Due to the collective agreements on demography which apply throughout the German chemical industry, this sector can be regarded as a pioneer industry. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 1/2018, pp. 28-35

Götz Richter, Inga Mühlenbrock

Age-appropriate work structure: challenges and need for action


The article analyses contemporary working conditions from the perspective of an age-appropriate working environment. Results from a representative survey on working conditions and health are linked with findings from scientific studies on effects of different working conditions on ageing and health. Important dimensions are workplace design, work organisation, work tasks and a social working environment. The authors argue in favour of preventive company strategies focusing on age-oriented work design. With this aim a continuous documentation of risk management and exposure times is essential. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 1/2018, pp. 36-43

Christina Stecker, Clemens Zierler

Maintaining work ability: the importance of management


Against the background of demographic and digital change, maintaining work ability within a company’s workforce is a crucial challenge. In this conceptually based article a novel understanding of leadership is presented which deals with the potential of emerging diversity by considering each individual’s psychological employment contract and organisational commitment to offers of support. The innovative starting point for strategic human resource management is idiosyncratic contracts (I-deals); individual and personal agreements which generate advantages for both managers and employees and complement collective bargaining agreements. Therefore, I-deals introduce possibilities for the experimental testing of “Arbeit 4.0” (Work 4.0) or “Bundesteilhabegesetz”(Federal Law on Participation) or “Flexirentengesetz”( law on flexible pensions) in Germany. First empirical studies have shown that special arrangements forgiven tasks and areas of responsibility as well as those that have an effect on the time perspective to remain in employment are well suited to elderly workers. Due to the lack of empirical evidence, the need for further empirical research is necessary in order to examine effects, as well as possible unintended interdependencies, of I-deals in practice. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 1/2018, pp. 44-50

Klaus Schmierl

Remuneration policy in an age-diverse workforce


Demographic change in Germany has led to an increase in the average number of older employees on the one hand, but on the other hand there are numerous problems employing younger successors. The success of human resources management depends on company performance and remuneration policy. The article addresses the question of the extent to which a change in performance must be compulsorily linear in terms of income if older workers cannot achieve the same level of productivity as the younger ones. After a sociological discussion of just criteria the author shows which solutions are pursued in the pay policies of companies to deal with demographic change. He presents empirically investigated and practised examples of remuneration models which do not compromise the company's fairness and productivity in age-mixed or ageing workplaces. Finally, some operational and structural framework conditions are outlined which could prove to be obstacles to an adequate adjustment of remuneration systems in line with the demands of demographic change. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 1/2018, pp. 51-58

Sebastian Brandl, Peter Guggemos, Ingo Matuschek

From the individual case to systematic age management in SMEs


Demographic change is now a reality in many German companies. An early withdrawal of older employees is rarely possible (in particular due to socio-political changes), and the recruitment of younger ones is becoming more difficult. At the same time, a prolonged working life is a challenge. With increased age stress can be more difficult to cope with. This calls for innovative, age-appropriate solutions. To this end, companies must develop formats and approaches adequate to the changes in the workforce. However, the IAB-Establishment Panel, for example, shows that despite a high awareness of the problem for many years, operational activities have been recorded at an unchanged low level, even though the collective bargaining parties and initiatives such as INQA (The Initiative New Quality of Work) offer agreements and instruments for this purpose. Demography-based agreements aim at giving businesses an impetus for a company-specific discussion about their ageing workforce. The article reveals how small and medium-sized companies deal with this challenge. It is based on twelve business case studies and shows which solutions they implement, the reasons for their decisions and whether they are developing systematic management strategies to cope with an ageing workforce. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 1/2018, pp. 59-65

Christiane Debler, Cornelia Leunig, Julia Osterwald, Ute Schlegel

Career at 50 plus – creating new career paths: Preliminary results of a qualitative sectoral survey


HR development policies need concepts that enable an adequate response to demographic change. Business enterprises will in future need to make more effort to secure their existing potential and focus on experienced and well-qualified employees. An analysis based on qualitative surveys examined the work and life situation of employees aged 50 and over in the chemicals industry. This article reports on initial results from the research. The development opportunities available to this group and their potential career opportunities right through to their retirement from working life were examined. Results revealed clearly what business enterprises would have to do in order to maintain lifelong employability amongst employees. Employers still do not offer sufficient options for employees who wish to change their work situation and their career goals. A prerequisite for change is to address this topic openly, to raise awareness among the social partners of the importance of new career models for the 50 plus employee group and to create appropriate scope for experimentation. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 1/2018, pp. 66-70

Wolfgang Anlauft

Age-appropriate work design: objectives, orientations and success factors in operational planning projects


For more than 15 years the average age of the employees working in German firms has been rising and this process is expected to continue over the next ten years. At the same time, working conditions display considerable potential for age-critical complications. Under these conditions, companies must act both preventively (providing for conditions that ensure a healthy and efficient ageing process while in employment) and curatively (through special regulations for employees with limited efficiency). The article describes an exemplary set of actions from analysis up to the shaping of working conditions. Based on a wide range of experience, the challenges, orientations, contradictions and success factors are reflected in the process of change. At the same time the roles of employee participation and co-determination are included. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 1/2018, pp. 71-74

Joachim Stork, Werner Widuckel

Operational age-management – six fields of controversy in operative practice


The trend towards an increase in the average age of retirement shows significant differences between professions and branches. On the whole it is the exceptional case for employees to reach the legal age of retirement within an employment relationship. It is desirable that in managing an ageing workforce countervailing measures are taken to curb early retirement. The authors discuss six controversial areas within organisations that influence age-management and that may affect the success of its promoters. more... (in German)