Initiative for interdisciplinary reporting in times of demographic change
Our society and the world of work are challenged by demographic change. To handle these challenges successfully, work-related developments in various areas of life must be monitored and interpreted together.
The task of national reporting is to identify societal changes and trends and to provide this information to political decision-makers. So far, this has been done by each of BAuA's departments independently, i.e. different areas of life are largely considered and monitored separately by different departmental research institutes. This system, which has been practiced over decades, has generated a lot of subject-specific knowledge representing an important information base for policy. However, the demographic change shows that reality is too complex to be considered one-dimensionally. The Federal Government has acknowledged this and called for an interdepartmental monitoring system as part of its demography strategy.
In consideration of the system-supporting role of work, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) has been asked to develop such an interdepartmental monitoring system. On behalf of it, Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA), together with other departmental research institutes, began developing the monitoring system "demowanda" in 2012. Demowanda stands for "Demographic change in the working world" ("Demographischer Wandel in der Arbeitswelt"). The following institutions are involved in the co-operation project: Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB), Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), German Centre of Gerontology (DZA), Institute for Employment Research (IAB) and Robert Koch Institute (RKI).
The interdepartmental monitoring system provides information on relevant societal developments in the context of demographic change and the working world. In this context, existing indicators of departmental research were used and information resources of the different departments were pooled together.
The monitoring system "demowanda" was realised as a website. After two years of development, the web portal www.demowanda.de went online in December 2016. The web-based implementation meets the growing demand for information which is available quickly, and a broad public can be reached by this way. Thus, an easily accessible and reliable source of information has been created - an important precondition for coping with challenges such as demographic change for society as a whole. In addition to politicians, other actors - with regard to the working world, primarily employers and employees - are required to face the changes as well.
Accordingly, the monitoring addresses all those who want to deal with the opportunities and challenges of demographic change in the working world. Demowanda contributes to raising public awareness on this issue. Thus, departmental research experiences a wider perception at the intersection between science, society and politics.
Demographic change lets the population shrink, get older and more diverse. This also changes the labour force potential and makes it necessary to extend the working life in the future. Therefore, in order to maintain prosperity and individual quality of life, it is necessary to create general conditions for an ageing- and age-appropriate work environment as well as for healthy and productive work.
For this purpose, the monitoring system "demowanda" provides comprehensive knowledge by integrating data and information from different areas of life. On the basis of six topics, the monitoring system provides an up-to-date overview of work-related societal developments in Germany. They include information on population, education, labour market, working conditions and health issues as well as on working in old age. Among other things, the monitoring data show
With demowanda, departmental research provides an interdepartmental information pool to politicians for dealing with demographic change. In addition, such information can also serve as a foundation for discussion and decision-making in business practice, help to recognise the need for action, or develop ideas for the development of measures.