Welcome note from the German Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Dr. Ursula von der Leyen

Ursula v.d. Leyen

Demographics have ceased being a minor issue for only a few experts. Instead it has become a major force driving massive change in personnel management and corporate culture. With many older workers retiring and comparatively few younger people starting work many companies already face great difficulties in finding enough highly skilled employees. Therefore, we have to enable every skilled employee at hand to release his or her full potential.

Since the workforce is ageing workplaces have to be age-appropriate. Life-long education and training will help older people to keep track. Many women still face considerable problems in reconciling family and work. Thus, work-family balance stays a key issue for both women and men.

And companies have to make sure that they provide motivating and healthy working conditions. It is a company’s key interest that every employee enjoys work and that he or she stays in the job as long as possible. On the other hand, a persistent high stress level at work can be responsible for mental disorders, ranging from extreme fatigue to major depression. First, we need to identify and analyze the sources of excessive stress in order to minimize its effects. Second, it is crucial to invest in resources known to help people cope with stress and change: e.g. control and decision latitude, a balanced mix of routine tasks and new tasks, the full support by management, and a good team spirit.

We want to create a world of work where it is not people who have to adapt to work but where work is adapted to people. Here, academia and science can provide valuable input and support. The Congress is a good forum for sharing knowledge and experience and for learning from each other. I wish you fruitful and inspiring discussions.

Ursula v.d. Leyen
Dr. Ursula von der Leyen