Have the Germans change into lazy at work? – DW – 05/16/2024 | EUROtoday

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A look at present OECD labor figures may be startling. In 2022, the common American labored over 1,800 hours per 12 months, whereas the common German labored just one,340 hours. However, labor market researcher Enzo Weber from the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) in Nuremberg, Germany, dismisses solutions of the once-industrious Germans now solely desirous to take pleasure in their candy lives.

“Germany has a very high female labor force participation rate compared to most other countries,” Weber advised DW, noting that the primary distinction to different international locations was that about each second girl works part-time, which mathematically lowers the common annual working hours.

For instance, if two males work ten hours every in a single nation, the common working timethere is ten hours – (10+10)/2 = 10. But if two males work ten hours every and a girl works 4 hours out of the country, the common working time is eight hours (10+10+4)/3 = 8.

In the interview for DW, Weber additionally identified that the OECD figures “do not mean that less work is being done in Germany.” Quite the opposite. “More work is being done because the alternative would be that these women are not included in the statistics at all,” he mentioned, including that the OECD itself cautions that the information is simply of restricted use for worldwide comparability.

Labor shifts and Gen Z

According to Weber, co-author of a not too long ago revealed IAB labor research, the occasions when males labored full-time and girls stayed at house are lengthy gone in Germany. Currently, 77% of German ladies are employed, marking a big improve in feminine workforce participation over the previous thirty years, regardless that many work part-time.

A mother sitting at a table doing remote work while her child sits next to her drawing pictures
A scarcity of locations in child-care services forces particularly moms to work much less hours to take care of their youngstersImage: Julian Stratenschulte/dpa/image alliance

And from these ladies who work full-time, practically half want to cut back their working hours by about six hours per week, in response to the IAB survey. Among full-time employed males, some 60% mentioned they want to work about 5.5 hours much less.

The want to work much less, amongst each women and men in Germany, has existed for many years however seems to have reached new highs with so-called Gen Z – the technology born between 1995 and 2010 that is begun hitting the labor market lately.

Gen Z has earned the doubtful fame of wanting as a lot free time and excessive salaries as doable. Enzo Weber dismisses what he calls a stereotype, saying {that a} profitable working profession is as necessary to the vast majority of Generation Z because it was to earlier generations, his findings have proven.

How to work much less with fewer folks?

But Gen Z’s wishes for decrease and extra versatile working hours have, in the meantime, change into mainstream calls for of Germany’s historically sturdy labor unions. They’ve gained extra traction due to an enormous expert labor scarcity right here and constructive remote-work experiences made in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gen Z and the office

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As a end result, present workers have extra leverage and might push tougher for modifications on the office than staff did on the flip of the millennium when Germany was within the grip of mass unemployment.

But how does “working less” align with the growing want for expert staff and the will to keep away from lack of prosperity? It is anticipated that by 2035, solely attributable to demographic modifications, there might be seven million fewer folks within the German labor market.

One strategy to tackle the rising state of affairs is by boosting labor productiveness. Enzo Weber believes that it does not make sense to squeeze most working hours out of individuals. Instead, he argues for enhancing the standard of labor via coaching, investments in digitization— notably synthetic intelligence (AI) – and the ecological restructuring of the economic system.

Halting the slide in productiveness progress

The IAB researcher additionally requires a so-called proactive qualification coverage that avoids ready till somebody has been left behind by structural change after which begins to intervene with emergency measures. Instead, folks ought to be empowered to take initiative and play an lively function of their careers.

At the second, nevertheless, German productiveness progress is meager at greatest. A research by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) reveals that between 1997 and 2007, the German economic system skilled productiveness progress of 1.6% yearly, but it surely halved to 0.8% between 2012 and 2019.

A nurse in a hospital moving a bed down a corridor
Services jobs like in take care of the aged and hospitality contribute solely little to productiveness Image: Marijan Murat/dpa/image alliance

In that, Germany isn’t any exception to different industrialized international locations, the place many of the new jobs even have been created in low-productivity sectors equivalent to providers. In addition, the low-wage sector, which isn’t recognized to be very productive, has nearly exploded in all places up to now few a long time.

At the identical time, labor productiveness has been rising elsewhere on this planet. Driven largely by progress in rising economies, world productiveness progress jumped sixfold between 1997 and 2022.  The median GDP per capita surged from $7,000 (€6,500) to $41,000 over the interval.

Nevertheless, IAB’s Enzo Weber advocates for extra flexibility within the German labor market. Employees ought to be free to decide on how a lot they work at completely different phases of their lives. “We don’t need a 5- or 4-day workweek; we need an X-day workweek and flexibility in work throughout our lifetimes,” he mentioned, and maybe with new versatile work fashions, even retirees might be motivated to proceed working.

This article was initially written in German.