Forum A

Healthy ageing - a challenge for business and society

- In co-operation with The Employers Forum on Age, UK and ddn/INQA, Germany - 

At one time, demographic change meant little to the captains of industry and even less to many politicians. Now, like global warming, it is rarely out of the spotlight, with each new appraisal seeming to confirm that, particularly in the developed countries, businesses and governments are going to have real problems maintaining trading positions and economies. But there are things we can do…

In society, in politics and in the workplace, the potential impact on our economic competitiveness and thus our ability to maintain our social security safety nets and other 'life support systems' is being given a great deal of attention at national and international level. The ageing of populations and the gradual decline in birth rates will lead, in the medium and long term, to older workforces and to dramatic changes in the structure of labour markets. Even if the specific effects differ depending on the country, the industry and a company's market position, there is little doubt that certain sectors are likely to face a critical shortage of manpower.

In this situation, ever more companies are reacting by implementing new HR concepts aimed at helping to safeguard the efficiency of the workforce and therefore the company's competitive position in the future. In addition to developing strategies concerned with skills and qualifications, health promotion and prevention are assuming much greater significance than in the past. The aim here should not just simply be to keep older workers in the organisation longer through targeted health promotion and prevention programmes, but to improve health and well-being on the whole over the entire span of a person's working life.

Current lifestyle trends above all in relation to eating habits and exercise - give serious cause for concern about our ability to maintain efficiency. They also clearly show that preventative measures and health promotion represent challenges to the whole of society and have to be organised to cover an individual’s entire life cycle. Health deficiencies which already exist when someone enters employment can often only be corrected at great expense.

Issues to be explored include:

  • What can companies do to attract and retain? older workers?
  • What HR concepts and strategies offer the best prospects of success?
  • How can organisations help create healthier lifestyles among their employees?
  • Where do qualifications and lifelong learning fit in?
  • How to we combat loss of knowledge when older workers leave?



Speakers - Case Stories

Facilitator / Input presenter:

Case story presentations: 

  • BASF SE, Germany:
    Dr. Christoph Oberlinner
    Occupational Medicine & Health Protection
  • METRO AG, Germany:
    Klaus Jakobi
    Head of People Enablement & Labour Organisation

Network presentations:


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