The changing world of work: demographic, structural and intercultural developments

Owing to demographic change in the European industrialized countries – a subject of much discussion – employees will increasingly have to work longer before retiring. "Remaining fit for work longer" is therefore a prevention goal that is being addressed by the IAG in its activities of research, training and consulting.

Research and development

Some occupations make greater demands – physical, mental, and in some cases both – than others. Persons performing these occupations are therefore often unable to continue to do so through to the statutory retirement age. The IAG has conducted several projects to examine to what extent people can potentially be kept fit for work, and therefore fit for employment, longer by a change in occupation.

Besides the age of the workers, other aspects causing changes in the world of work are emerging. Company workforces are becoming more diverse, and not solely as a result of greater European integration. This topic includes a number of discrete aspects, such as differences in age, sex or cultural background. These aspects should not be considered in isolation, however: diversity at the workplace at a personal level is the product of the multiple characteristics unique to each individual. How can work be made safe and healthy for each individual worker in consideration of his or her resources? This is the question to which the IAG seeks answers.


The IAG offers a three-part training course for demographics consultants. OSH experts taking this course learn how to make a realistic assessment of the future demographic development of a company's workforce and about the measures suitable for retaining an ageing workforce's ability to work and innovate.

Survey seminars on demographic change and seminars dedicated to individual aspects of it are also on offer. The topic of diversity is addressed in seminars on accessibility for persons with disabilities, and in seminars on intercultural topics.


Observance of the validated findings of human factors research constitutes the basis for job design. Optimum ergonomic design is able to compensate for the majority of deficits exhibited by older employees. The IAG has developed model assembly and VDU workstations by which this can be demonstrated in a practical manner. The model workstations are used in consultations with individual accident insurance institutions and with companies, as well as in seminars.

In addition, the IAG has on the one hand developed simulations that enable the abilities that deteriorate and improve with age to be experienced personally; on the other, cognitive games are used to train fluid intelligence. Simulations and games are used in seminars and consulting.


The topic of demographic change is addressed regularly by IAG conferences and congresses, for example at the iga colloquium on working healthily, safely, and longer and in the "Future of work" series. In addition, numerous conferences and technical discussions between experts are held. "Diversity" was one of the topics at the Dresden Prevention Forum in March 2017.


Dr. Hanna Zieschang
Tel. +49 30 13001-2240

Dr. Carola Kästner
Tel. +49 30 13001-2330