Labour market congress - on the future of work


The labour market and job profiles are changing in far-reaching and lasting ways. These changes are beingdriven by demographic change, digitisation, skills shortages, and changing approaches to living – all of which present great challenges for the economy and for politics. In addition to long-term structural changes, there are again cyclical economic worries, seemingly forgotten for a decade. At the 2019 Labour Market Congress of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in collaboration with the Federal Employers’ Federation of Recruitment Agencies (BAP) and the Interest Group of German Temporary Employment Agencies (iGZ), experts from politics and business discussed the future of employment. The main points for discussion at the event emerged from the welcome address by the Chairman of the Board of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, Prof Karl-Heinz Paqué: increasing digitisation, the establishment of flexible working time models, and the serious skills shortage. One particular challenge for employers is the need for young, dynamic, well qualified young people. To shine a light on the point of view of millennials referenced here, Dr Steffi Burkhart gave a stimulating talk on the importance of human capital in the modern, digitised labour market.

„The sweeping changes brought about by digitisation should not be regarded only as a threat. On the contrary: we must seize the opportunities of digitisation – including in the labour market.“

— Johannes Vogel, MdB

Companies could become more attractive to young people by giving them more space to be creative. There was, she added, a generation of young people who would like to set up businesses but were unable to do so as a result of the bureaucracy in this country. This resource of creativity could also be tapped within companies if the appropriate framework conditions were present. Older generations can still be a driving force on the labour market and in businesses, as explained by Johannes Vogel (FDP) on the second panel of the day with fellow members of the Bundestag, Dr Martin Rosemann (SPD), Kai Whittaker (CDU), Beate Müller-Gemmeke (Greens). Vogel also wants to make use of the opportunities presented by digitisation for the labour market. But this would require a comprehensive agenda for “lifelong learning for everyone, flexible working hours, individuals being in control of their own careers, and a welfare state adapted to people’s needs”.

„The sweeping changes brought about by digitisation should not be regarded only as a threat. On the contrary: we must seize the opportunities of digitisation – including in the labour market.“

— Dr. Steffi Burkhart