Categories : Lean Manufacturing Principles


BMW are aware of the impact of an on business!

aging workforce

Aging Workforce

I caught an article on CBS News the other day. It talked about the impact of an aging workforce on the US economy. It is estimated that around 17% of the US workforce will be 60 and over by 2020. This is daunting when you consider that during 2010 the unemployment rate of between 9 % – 10% put the economy in bad shape. Economists tell us that people buying stuff drives about 70% of the US economy.

In Germany, the aging workforce problem is worse because estimates say 21% of their workforce will be 60 and over by 2020. This problem has hit home with some companies, particularly BMW. They realized that much of their intellectual capital is invested in an aging workforce that is supposed to retire at 65. Fewer babies are being born and the population is getting older. This means that as people retire there are not enough young people to fill their positions. If gets worse if you apply a skill factor such as an engineer, architect, doctor, etc.

BMW surveyed their employees to find out what they needed to do to improve the for their older workers. The results of the survey were remarkable because the solutions were very simple. Workers made suggestions for improving the ergonomics of the workplace to make it easier for older workers.  It cost BMW a total cost of $50,000 to implement the changes. The impact to the bottom line was a of 7%.

The other interesting part of the story was the fact that many baby boomers who are due to retire cannot really afford to do it. They are finding it hard to keep up with increasing cost of living because many have suffered losses in their retirement nest eggs. Thus is driving many to work beyond 65.

To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable – Oscar Wilde.

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