Justice between young and old in the workplace

Justice between young and old in the workplace

The so-called intergenerational contract is a term most people are familiar with, but what exactly is meant by it? The intergenerational contract is a scientific explanatory model of social pension insurance. It is an unspoken "contract" between the young, the contributing generation, and the old, the pension-receiving generation. The working generation has the obligation to pay the contribution and expects the next generation to do the same. But does this principle still work? And how does the younger generation, specifically students, view the current situation in Germany with regard to intergenerational justice?

Generational injustice from the students' perspective
First, the general definition of intergenerational justice: Intergenerational justice is defined as "distributive justice of material resources, of life chances and quality of life between generations. Linked to this, by definition, is the demand that each generation should live as responsibly and moderately [...]" (Fachkraft 2030).
The study series Fachkraft 2030 (Maastricht University/jobvalley) surveyed 10,000 people in September 2021 on various areas regarding intergenerational justice. A large proportion of the students feel that the situation in Germany is generally not generationally equitable. A total of 68% of all respondents with the answer option "Unfair - at the expense of the younger generation". The distinction according to the field of study of the participants is striking. While 75% of those who do not study a STEM subject stated that they feel the situation is unfair, the figure for STEM students is only 58%.

Is there equality between the young and the old at the workplace?
The concern about a lack of equality between young and old in the workplace seems to be present among many students. With regard to the statement "Young and older employees should meet at the workplace much more on an equal footing", 86% of all respondents agree (or rather agree). It is striking that women in particular, with 90%, agree or tend to agree with this statement. The figure for men was 82%.

Why intergenerational justice is important in the workplace
As different generations increasingly meet in the workplace today, it is important that employers learn to better manage generational diversity in order to remain competitive. The differences between generations should be taken into account when designing an effective work environment.
Intergenerational work design can help create meaningful work experiences and promote productive working relationships between workers of different ages. In addition, all participants can be better motivated to avoid conflicts and absenteeism, and organisational performance is improved. All in all, this creates a positive corporate culture that is tailored to the needs and desires of each age group. To optimise employee productivity and satisfaction, employers can try to incorporate elements such as flexible schedules for families or job-sharing options that accommodate different life stages, or ensure on-site technology support for millennials who prefer multitasking with various tech tools. It is important that each employee receives an appropriate level of recognition and appreciation.

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