Dhe Germans are getting older, and at the same time many older people are healthy and productive longer than they used to be. At the same time, there is a lack of workers and skilled workers. The pressure to find suitable employees is high in many industries. One way to alleviate the problem would be for older people to continue working after reaching retirement age. After all, by 2030 around five million workers will no longer be available for the labor market as the baby boomer generation gradually retires.
So far, the discussion about working after retirement age has been determined by the view that poverty in old age forces people to pursue gainful employment while drawing their pension. The majority of citizens, on the other hand, seemed to want to stop working sooner rather than later, as indicated by the waves of early retirement.
A paper by the Economic Forum of the SPD, which is exclusively available to the FAZ, paints a different picture. According to a survey commissioned by the Economic Forum, 40 percent of workers older than 50 want to work up to 20 hours a week when they retire – or even more. Around twelve percent state that they would like to continue working full-time; almost eight percent want to continue working up to 30 hours a week; and 20 percent want to do this for up to 20 hours. Another 20 percent can imagine doing less work.
A third do not want to work when they retire
Only a good third, on the other hand, cannot imagine continuing to work after retirement age. Companies would also be willing to continue employing older people to a greater extent than previously assumed. According to the survey, two-thirds of HR managers would continue to employ employees who already work in the company beyond retirement age. Almost half of those responsible for making personnel decisions can imagine recruiting pensioners. The opinion research institute Civey interviewed 10,000 people for the paper.
“The youth trend in the labor market seems broken,” says the results of the survey in the paper. It speaks of a “180 degree turnaround” when it comes to the employment prospects of retirees. Since “voluntary longer work” does not require any special preparations, the Economic Forum believes it is “the most effective short-term means of keeping skilled workers in the workforce”.
However, the economy itself may not be quite so enthusiastic about this prospect. The situation is different for the 172 personnel consultants and so-called headhunters who are organized in the Federal Association of German Management Consultants. Among them, according to the Economic Forum’s request, only seven percent believe that employing professionals who are over 60 years old is a suitable proposal for corporations. When it comes to personnel suggestions in medium-sized companies, the proportion rises to 24 percent. According to the SPD economic forum, the difference to the personnel managers in companies could be that personnel consultants primarily place workers with high-ranking profiles.
The SPD forum writes that it is not about raising the general retirement age or making it more flexible. Rather, the desire to voluntarily work longer should be easier to fulfill, which requires a reduction in bureaucracy. The authors also suggest using tax policy incentive models to encourage the willingness to work longer. However, continuing to work voluntarily is only one option to counteract the shortage of skilled workers. In addition to digitization and efforts to raise the level of education, it is emphasized that Germany will continue to be dependent on the immigration of skilled workers in the long term, which will have to be on a much larger scale than before. Among other things, the recognition of professional and academic qualifications could contribute to this.