Generation management in SMEs

Fit for demographic change: the challenge of generation management for SMEs in rural areas.

Basis

Demographic change and the associated skills shortage affects small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in rural areas in particular ways. The trend is indicated by the following characteristics:

  • decreasing number of young professionals
  • reduced availability of experts and managers
  • the need to retain employees for longer
  • the need to mobilise reserve groups in the labour market for employment
  • compared with urban areas, a greater social and economic burden as a result of general migration towards conurbations


Project

The trinational “Regionenbezogenes Generationenmanagement (RegGen)” (Region-oriented generation management) project assumes that the availability of human capital is becoming a factor that is not only limiting the competitive ability of individual organisations, but also of entire regions. This is demonstrated in the Lake Constance region, located at the crossroads of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The project takes the “Konzepte des Hauses der Arbeitsfähigkeit” (concept of the house of employability), developed by Prof. Dr. Juhani Ilmarinen and his colleagues, extending it to a systematic region-based approach.

The aim of the project was to describe, evaluate and promote regional and cross-border opportunities for personal and professional development for professionals and managers in the sectors particularly affected, these being information and communication technology and industry.

Project results included the development of a self-evaluation tool that permits SMEs in regional areas to evaluate generation management autonomously and to derive measures from this evaluation. Organisations use this tool to make their own assessment of the extent to which operational measures for generation management already exist and how other activities could further optimise the ways in which demographic changes are dealt with.

Interdisciplinary cooperation network

Careum Forschung: Prof. Dr. Ulrich Otto (Head of Careum Research, Overall Project Leader)
FHS St. Gallen: Prof. Dr. Sibylle Olbert
FH Vorarlberg: Prof. Dr. Frederic Fredersdorf
Hochschule Kempten: Prof. Dr. Markus Jüster

External funding

IBH – Internationale Bodensee Hochschule

Duration

2012–2014

Further information

Find out more about the “Region-oriented generation management” project

Publications

Fredersdorf, F., Jüster, M., Olbert-Bock, S., & Otto, U. (2014). Generationenmanagement: Unternehmen durch den demografischen Wandel begleiten. Freiburg: Lambertus.

Regionenbezogenes Generationenmanagement – Regionale Umsetzung zur Bewältigung des demografischen Wandels in KMU ländlicher Regionen. Poster am gemeinsamen Kongress DGGG, DGG, SFGG & ÖGG «Stress und Altern – Chancen und Risiken», Halle (Saale), 24.–27. September 2014. PDF