EY ALTER WikiDemographic change

Demographic change describes current trends in population development. It focuses in particular on the changing age structure.

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In Germany, two important factors have led to an “ageing society”: an increasing life expectancy and a consistently low birth rate. The proportion of older people is steadily growing compared with that of the younger population. Migration has not been able to halt this development. According to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, the average age of Germans was 44.3 years in 2014.

Age structure of the German population, 1950 – 2060

Demographic change at EY ALTER

Opportunities for society

Life expectancy is continuously increasing – an important factor for demographic change. In Germany, one in ten inhabitants was at least 65 years old in 1950. Today, it is one in five. It could be one in three by 2060. Today’s 75-year-olds are also considerably more fit, both mentally and physically, than those 20 years ago (2). Wasted years full of potential – for each individual and for society.

Opportunities for the world of work

The baby boomers are getting old and the birth rate has been consistently low since the mid-1970s (3). A shortage of labour and ageing employees have been the effects of demographic change on the labour market. One consequence is a longer working life. Being able and wanting to work longer – that requires us to change the way we think. The ongoing reorganisation of the world of work offers a great deal of opportunities – for young and old.

How companies are facing demographic change:

Demographic human resource management

  • Promoting age diversity
  • Qualitative human resource planning

Acquiring and retaining employees

  • Better work-life balance
  • Flexible work conditions
  • Lifelong learning
  • Rotation

Sharing and preserving expertise

  • Mixed-age teams
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Specific training for each generation

Corporate culture

  • Appreciation of age diversity
  • Training for managers

Maintaining the ability to work

  • Ergonomic workplaces
  • Workplaces that focus on abilities
  • Preventive health measures


German Federal Institute for Population Research. Results from 13 coordinated
population projections (version 2), source of data: German Federal Statistical Office of Germany, available online [in German] at:

Federal Statistical Office of Germany, average life expectancy according to
age, 1871-81 to 2010-12, modified: https://www.destatis.de/DE/ZahlenFakten/GesellschaftStaat/Bevoelkerung/ Sterbefaelle/Tabellen/Lebenserwartung.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

“Das Alter wird jünger” [Old age is becoming younger], press release by the Max Planck Institute for
Human Development regarding a study conducted by the Humboldt University of Berlin,
Charité Berlin and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, 23 March 2015:

Source: Federal Statistical Office of Germany, calculations by the German
Federal Institute for Population Research, available online [in German] at:

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