More and more retirees are going to work

Status: 01/26/2022 06:16 p.m

The number of working pensioners has increased significantly. Many of them work in physically demanding jobs, such as in construction or chemical companies or in mechanical engineering – for a wide variety of reasons.

In Germany, more than 1.3 million women and men are already working longer than they have to. The number of working pensioners has risen significantly over the past four years. This is shown by a current evaluation by the Federal Employment Agency for the MDR. According to this, in June 2021 almost 300,000 people were working in activities subject to social security contributions “beyond the standard retirement age”. This is how the further work is officially called. This is an increase of almost 30 percent compared to 2017.

The increase in mini-jobs was somewhat more moderate. In Germany, the number of men and women of retirement age with mini-jobs rose by around five percent to around one million. The corona pandemic has apparently not affected the trend towards more employed pensioners. The elderly belong to the risk group for a more severe course of the disease.

Companies appreciate the experience

For more than 20 years, Arno Barthelmes’ company has continued to employ employees after they retire. “Our seniors not only pass on their many years of experience,” says the head of the family business from Zella-Mehlis in Thuringia. “They also radiate a certain calm in the company. And very important things like decency and behavior are passed on from the older to the younger generation.”

Larger companies such as JENATEC Industriemontagen have also deliberately relied on older employees for years. The personnel service provider places 450 mechatronics technicians, welders, electricians and site managers. 15 of them are already of retirement age. They continue to work because companies deliberately ask for them. “More and more of our customers are recognizing the value of experienced colleagues,” says company boss Peter Schmidt. The oldest JENATEC employee to date was still working on the construction site at the age of 72.

“I was just bored”

The 65-year-old Anton Janousch from Lugau in the Erzgebirge district has survived a serious illness of cancer. Since then, the trained track builder and later asset advisor has officially retired. Nevertheless, Janousch drives for a small taxi company from Lugau – even at night and on weekends. This adds up to around one hundred hours of travel time every month. The pensioner needs the money from his taxi driver job. His private health insurance eats up too much of his pension.

“But I also started driving a taxi because I didn’t want to sit around at home alone after the cancer. I don’t have any relatives, I only have a cat and I was just bored,” says Janousch. As long as he is healthy, he wants to continue driving a taxi. “My boss will also be leaving in two or three years and we’ll still be driving together for that long,” says Anton Janousch.

Money is not the main motive

Many women and men who could already be retired work in medicine, care and education in particular, as an analysis of the current labor market figures by industry shows. A current study by the employer-related Institute of the German Economy (IW) shows that the additional income does not play the central role for many working pensioners. “Most of them do it of their own accord. Because people enjoy what they do and because they want to be active,” says IW researcher Oliver Stettes. “Where money is mentioned as a motive, poverty in old age is not necessarily the reason for employment.”

According to the research institute, four out of ten companies already employ seniors. Companies are increasingly recognizing the value older employees have for them. “In 2015, companies wanted to keep a quarter of the people. Three years later, this number had risen to 58 percent. That means six out of ten people who retire would like to keep the company,” says IW researcher Stettes. This is the only way companies can ensure the transfer of knowledge to younger colleagues and at least somewhat cushion the problems caused by the shortage of skilled workers.

A problem especially in the east: the old are leaving, the young are absent

Martin WitschaƟ from the Chemnitz Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also noticed the significantly increased interest of companies in employing retirees. He helps companies when they have questions about employment contracts with pensioners. “The number of cases has recently doubled and tripled,” says Martin WitschaƟ. Such inquiries will increase sharply throughout Germany. Experts and entrepreneurs are sure of that.

According to a current IW study from last October, the shortage of skilled workers is already higher than before the start of the corona pandemic. Almost 400,000 skilled workers are missing, which is 50,000 more than before – especially in eastern Germany. A comparatively large number of employees are retiring here, and at the same time there is a growing shortage of young people.

The ARD program Plusminus reports on this topic tonight at 9:45 p.m.

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