HANNOVER MESSE 2019, 01 - 05 April
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Industrie 4.0

Automation predominately affects older workers

In Germany, 57% of jobs occupied by older people are at risk from automation. This is a higher rate than in many other European countries. At the same time, companies are seeing the number of young recruits shrink.

05 Nov. 2018
HMI-ID10-053ds_APRC-Calculations,-UN-Data
Automation predominately affects older workers (Photo: APRC Calculations, UN Data)

These are the key findings of a survey conducted by consulting firms Oliver Wyman and Mercer . Their investigations focussed on employees between the ages of 50 and 64 and how automation affects this group. Companies’ eagerness to implement smart technologies swiftly and efficiently has extremely serious implications for these workers, write the authors. “This shift can lead to unemployment, increasing inequality, and a greater burden on safety nets,” says Axel Miller, a partner at Oliver Wyman.

Focusing solely on younger people could prove fatal. According to the consultants, the UNO anticipates the percentage of people of working age in Germany to fall by over 6% by 2030. It would therefore be a mistake not to leverage older workers, the study notes further. Sebastian Karwautz from Mercer advises companies to better integrate these employees: “They need a plan that not only focuses on their digital strategies, but that also encourages and accommodates the older generation.” Strategies such as redesigning jobs and retraining workers would be appropriate here.

Support comes from the Bavarian Chambers of Industry and Commerce, which have published a guide on ‘older workers in the digital working world’. The guide states that: “The overriding objective must be to retain in the company employees – with their experience, knowledge, and creativity – for as long as possible.”