Having older employees ‘better for business’

Having older employees 'better for business'
Photo: DPA
Having employees between the ages of 45 and 67 increases a business' productivity, the German government announced on Tuesday in a report examining age-equality in the workplace.

The report, which encourages mixing older and younger workers, was commissioned by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, following the decision to raise the national retirement age to 67.

Germany has become a leading force in the EU regarding age-equality in the workplace over the past decade, with the steepest rate of increase of working 60 to 64-year-olds. In 2010, the employment figure for this age bracket went up from 38.4 percent to 40.8 percent.

Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen called the increase “a considerable success,” in a statement released with the study on Tuesday.

“Soon we will have more people between 60 and 64 working than taking retirement,” she said. “Our ultimate aim is to make being employed over the age of 60 the norm.”

Experts at the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), who carried out parts of the study, found that the productivity of a company increases by 0.5 percent with every percentage of the proportion of 45 to 50-year-old employees increases.

Having workers in that age bracket can even boost a company’s performance by an average of two percent, the report said.

But Michael Sommer, the head of the DGB trade union association, criticised that many older workers had precarious jobs without social benefits.

“We have 800,000 people aged between 55 and 64 who only have mini jobs,” he said after meeting with von der Leyen in Berlin on Tuesday.

The Local/DAPD/jcw

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