Competence, health and good working conditions - How we can promote the ability to work, competitiveness and capacity for change: the title of the third memorandum from the Expert task force on demografic change and work at the Initiative Neue Qualität der Arbeit (Initiative for a New Quality of Work, INQA) is a perfect fit for the current situation on the German labour market. Well‑trained and well‑educated employees are being sought in many places, and there is currently no foreseeable end to that trend. The reason for this is not only the favourable economic winds blowing in Germany; demographic and structural changes are also having an impact on the current labour market. The average age of the workforce is rising due to a frequent shortage of qualified young professionals. However, the labour market is not just getting older; it is also getting more female and more varied too. This is placing greater challenges on modern human resources management.
In the current professional world, competence means more than just formal qualifications and professional experience. Communication and social skills are key requirements, especially in a networked economy, for a successful working life in an interactive and global working world. An awareness of one's own abilities and limitations and the ability to recognise when it is time to "recharge one's battery" are also skills. People need to learn how to find the right balance between work and other parts of their life, how to cope with day-to-day stress, how to find the right way to relax and, more generally, how to look after their health. This is not just important for the individual, it's also of vital interest to businesses. The greater the demands on employees’ skills and the more difficult the search for qualified employees becomes, the less we can afford people falling ill at work and as a result of their work. Consequently, employee friendly working conditions that contribute to combating adverse psychological effects and promoting mental health and performance are now on the agenda.
It is against that backdrop that this memorandum offers a wealth of facts, suggestions and points for discussion. The memorandum is a contribution to the debate from the Demography team of experts at the Initiative for a New Quality of Work. Management and employees from the chemicals industry were actively involved in, and offered a critical perspective on, the production of the memorandum. It is with this in mind that we would like to thank the Initiative for a New Quality of Work for giving us this forum for discussion. One conclusion or another may, of course, be the subject of heated debate, and we look forward to the continued debate that we hope will extend beyond our team of experts as well as beyond the Initiative for a New Quality of Work. We therefore view the memorandum as an appeal for skills acquisition, qualifications and health to be given top priority by businesses and in society as a whole.
The brochure "Competence, health and good working conditions - for the future of work. How we can promote the ability to work, competitiveness and capacity for change" can be downloaded from the INQA-Website.
Competence, health and good working conditions - for the future of work. How we can promote the ability to work, competitiveness and capacity for change. Third memorandum
Berlin: Initiative Neue Qualität der Arbeit (INQA) 2016. pages 44, paper, PDF file