Silver Haired Economy
Altersdiskriminierung - auch in Deutschland

Zusammenfassung eines Vortrags von Ulrike Wahl beim Netzwerk European Women's Management (EWMD) am 19./20. Juni 2004 in München

Different aspects:

- Silver haired segment (senior consumers)
- „everything will be done to make you spend your money“
- Silver ceiling (work force over 55)
- „no one wants to pay for experience anymore“

Silver Ceiling Facts

- Risk group baby boomers (born 1946 - 1964)
- Increase in unemployment in this group rose by 23% in 3 yeras (USA, 2003), compared to 10% for young workers (aged 20 - 24)
- Job hunts for them take twice as long as yield lower-paying jobs
- Tight labor market, retirement fasten the depletion of the labor pool
- Ageism in the workplace exists at all levels
- In more than 50% of German medium sized companies, there is no work-force over 50 (How old are the companies themselves?)
- Other figures say that the majority of German workers still has been working for more than 10 years in the same company

Silver Ceiling Arguments / Con

- They do not fit into our culture
- We can get someone younger at a lower salary
- They are not willing to learn new concepts or techniques
- They are only waiting for retirement, not really comitted
- They should have been sacked in time


Silver Ceiling Argunments / Pro

- Retirement means loss of knowledge to the company
Older employees are willing to stay until retirement (benefit for the company)
- People who are reluctant to learn new concepts are so at any age
Hire invaluable wisdom – employ people because of their age, not in spite of it
- Senior workers want to make use of their knowledge and experience in a balanced environment (work/life) and they want to feel esteemed – a fitting environment will produce engaged and very loyal seniors for the company who transfer their knowledge to the younger ones

• Silver Ceiling: Points of interest for women

- The silver ceiling is probably lower for women than for men
Early retirement is a higher risk for women with children (they cannot return for a short period between motherhood and retirement)
- Our society will only survive with children and with skilled workers – so you have to attract young people to start families in an environment that integrates private and professional needs and gives them a chance to save enough for longer retirement
- The social security systems are growing more instable and insecure, women will suffer more from decreasing income in old age because of lower wages

We claim that diversity is fruitful for society and companies, age is an important aspect of diversity

• Silver Segment Facts

- More then 50% of Germans will be older than 60 in the year 2025
The actual retired generation can spend enormous amounts of money and will give big fortunes to their heirs
The seniors have enough time and knowledge to pick suitable products that fulfill their requirements
They do not succombe to compromise

• Silver Segment: Threats and Opportunities

- There might arise a clash of generations as the active work-force cannot pay enough to support the seniors at a level similar to that they secured in their active phase for the predecessing generation
- There will be many role models in the retired society, they can play an important part in supporting active professional women
All companies producing consumer goods have to make sure to fulfill the needs of an ageing population
Political parties have to face a majority of seniors that can decide nearly any election
Health, wellness and individual comfort are the most important topics for this group

Ulrike Wahl .

Zur Person:
Ulrike Wahl ist Senior Consultant der EITCO GmbH in Berlin und Mitglied von EWMD

Inside Business: Die unterschätzte Frau über 40
Bericht der Financial Times Deutschland über den Kongress der EWMD

  Weitere Themen:
Silver Economy: Der Kunde im Alter