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INTERVIEW and continuing education center at the Schieder site. The job profiles of skilled workers have also changed dramatically, and there cannot be a stagnation of theory and practice. These need continual training. Think, for example, of the lathes on which people performed mainly manual work 20 years ago. Today, in the age of increasing digitalization, computers must be operated skillfully. But if something goes wrong, for example if a gearbox has to be changed, then it still comes down to skilled hands. We have to accommodate for this. And this is what we teach in our ultra-modern training workshop. And then, those born in the 1960s, the years with the most births, will retire. The contraceptive pill was introduced in the late 1960s; before then, an average German family had 3.8 children, and after that there were just 1.2 children per family. This will not be a slow, analogous change. The lack of skilled workers will be dramatic; it will be a digital demolition. We are not Microsoft And we are also not Microsoft or Porsche or BMW, and we are not based in major cities such as Munich or Stuttgart. Our products are concealed within machines and equipment, so end consumers will never be impressed if we change colors or develop a bold design. We do not even have a presence in hardware stores. And on top of this, our headquarters are in Blomberg, for example. The “World Metropolis”, Blomberg. We know all of this, and have for a long time. So what can we do? We have to make a name for ourselves as being a very good employer. Since 1994, we have also been working to build our reputation in this field as well. At the beginning, I was ridiculed by everybody because of my commitment to this. Top Job, Best Place to Work, Kununu – we are now regarded as a top employer far beyond our national borders. We have built up a true brand name in our target groups, regardless of how well known our products are. It has been a long journey. But it was worth it. In the last 20 years, we have been Germany’s best employer 11 times, achieved second place nine times, and reached third place six times. In terms of key figures such as page views, satisfaction levels, and staff turnover, we are in the top group – ahead of industry giants such as Microsoft and Siemens. è The baby boomer generation are today looking almost enviously at the coming generations, because while everything was scarce for those born before 1969 – school, training, studies, professions – future graduates can practically choose their jobs. How are you responding to this demographic change, the increasingly noticeable shortage of young people? We were already aware of this upcoming demographic change – the retirement of the baby boomer generation from active working life – 20 years ago. It is only now that it is becoming more and more visible to the public. But the current shortage of skilled workers is still nothing to worry about yet. From 2000 to today, 2020, we have seen a drop in skilled workers of around seven percent. By 2030, this will be 20 percent. “We have to make a name for ourselves as being a very good employer.” Professor Dr. Gunther Olesch 38 UPDATE 5/20 The Phoenix Contact innovation magazine