Every 5th employee in Germany is 55+

Dr. Jonas Steeger

Digitalization... hardly any topic dominates the everyday tenor of the German - or even global - economy more. However, German companies are increasingly having older employees. The impact on the digital change is enormous. But what can be done?

It's all our favorite subject, isn't it?

Digitalization... hardly any topic dominates the everyday tenor of the German - or even global - economy more. It feels like there is no conference, workshop discussion or other event where the digital change is not at least mentioned.

But even with all the aversion to constant repetition... It is time for us to make adjustments - and many are already there. A little finger exercise with Google shows that the hype surrounding digitisation started in Germany at the beginning of 2013. After all, that was a good 6 years ago.

Interestingly, the search for digitalisation via Google is not equally popular everywhere in Germany. The most popular searches are in Erlangen, Wolfsburg and Ingolstadt. The cities are part of regions rich in companies. It makes sense that the topic is of special interest in these regions (although this derivation is not correct, because e.g. in Stuttgart the popularity of the search term is only half as high as in Erlangen).

The age pyramid

But traditional companies in particular have to struggle with at least one further difficulty in addition to the content component of digitalisation: one in five employees in Germany is over 55 years old - even worse, the trend has an increasing tendency.

What are the consequences of the age structure?

In our opinion, digitalisation requires two things in particular:

  1. Resources (and here, in addition to financial resources, above all time)
  2. and know-how.

While older employees can of course also have digitization know-how, it can be assumed that the digitization of business models is more likely to be taken over by younger employees. In addition, older employees are usually already in a permanent role and it is usually difficult to detach oneself from these structures.

So what are we supposed to do?

Every fifth employee. Ok. Then 80% are younger and well prepared for digitalisation, aren't they? Perhaps. But it is probable that the age pyramid of the companies is also upside down - or at least comes across as an urn.

Companies with these age structures are well advised to initiate projects that focus not only on the content component of digitalisation but also on long-term feasibility. This also includes the ability to continue the project in the event of the departure of core personnel and thus a familiarisation and handover.

By the way, a resumption of a project that may have been dropped is well possible if the multi-project digitalisation is centrally documented and supported. And do you know what? Falcon can help you. Are you interested? Write us!


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