The Generation Change is coming

Dr. Jonas Steeger

KfW study shows: Up to 840,000 managers will retire from their positions in the next 5 years. But only in very few cases is the handover to the next generation actively prepared. A problem that could shake the entire German middle class.

Germany likes to boast about its middle class - and not without reason. But especially the typical medium-sized company is faced with big tasks. Today it is not about the catchwords digitalisation and IoT - it is about succession.

Almost every fifth of the total of 3.7 million medium-sized companies in Germany already has to deal with the question of succession today... or at least should. A good company succession takes on average 3 years - and the suitable candidate has already been found and convinced of the new position. KfW is drawing intensive attention to this issue. You can find the study here.

On average, small and medium-sized enterprises continue to record healthy growth. Nevertheless, the generation change has taken place. Family businesses in particular are increasingly experiencing problems with this sensitive issue. Family business research assumes that up to 70% of family businesses do not survive the generation change. At least the succession often leads to a decrease in performance, because the management often chooses family members as successors, although external candidates might be better suited. In a short article, the researchers Nick Charter (et al., 2015) shows that even if a family leader actively tries to break away from family influence, family members tend to be preferred when selecting candidates - even if there is no actual reason for this.

Excerpt from the study "Generationswechsel im Deutschen Mittelstand", KfW, 2018

However, this problem can of course also occur in non-family businesses. The key to a successful handover therefore lies in the early planning of strategic projects - and this includes the handover itself. If you are already starting to process your projects in a structured way, a successor will find it much easier to familiarise yourself with them.

In fact, with Falcon we accompany companies that, in addition to transforming the company itself, also carry out the succession organization with Falcon. Are you interested? We will be happy to help you! Contact us at


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