Main Content

Randstad Ifo Personnel Manager Survey for Quarter 4 2016

Retirement at 63 Impacts Majority of Companies

The latest Randstad Ifo Personnel Manager Survey analyses how many companies have employees who have already taken early retirement at 63, their positions and whether companies generally struggle to fill the positions left vacant. The survey results show that over half of the companies surveyed are already affected by retirement at 63, with 52% of companies reporting employees taking early retirement. More companies were affected in manufacturing (62%) than in distribution (53%) and the service sector (44%). A further 12% of all firms reported that although none of their employees have taken early retirement at 63 to date, they expect them to do so in the next two years.

In most companies in which employees have already chosen to retire at 63, 64% were skilled workers. Over half of the personnel managers surveyed also stated that ordinary staff members accounted for 59% of early retirees. Unskilled workers (15%) and executives (14%) retired early in one in seven companies. 


In the group of companies in which staff have already retired at 63, almost all of the personnel managers surveyed (97%) stated that these positions will generally be filled, with 44% confirming this statement, while 44% reported that their company will fill most, but not all vacant positions. Only 12% wish to fill just a few of the positions left vacant; while the share is significantly higher in manufacturing (17%) than in distribution (9%) or services (7%). In addition, 71% of companies stated that they would recruit new staff for the positions left vacant without making any changes to the job profiles in question. Only 21% of companies plan to change the job profiles when posting vacant positions; while 8% did not respond to this question.

In view of the frequently expressed concern that personnel shortages will be exacerbated by employees retiring early, companies were asked if they generally have difficulties in filling vacant positions. The survey results confirm that this is indeed often the case. Almost two out of three companies surveyed (65%) reported problems in filling vacant positions. In the service sector the share is slightly above average (73%), while it is slightly lower (58%) in manufacturing. Small companies (with up to 250 employees: 67%) encounter greater difficulties than large companies (250+ employees: 60%). Personnel managers most frequently reported difficulties in the search for suitable skilled workers (69% of companies). In distribution and the service sector almost two thirds of personnel managers reported problems filling positions for skilled workers, while this figure was considerably higher in manufacturing (82%). 30% of companies reported difficulties filling vacant positions for ordinary staff. 27% of personnel managers found it particularly tough to recruit for open executive positions, especially at large companies. As far as recruiting unskilled workers is concerned, relatively few companies (15%) reported difficulties. 


The survey also asked companies whether they are taking internal measures to retain staff for longer. Almost all companies employ staff who may retire in the next few years. 94% of personnel managers currently reported employing staff who are at least 55 years old. Moreover, the survey results show that only 43% of the personnel managers surveyed are implementing measures to hold onto older staff for longer. These companies most frequently cited flexible working hour models (70%) as the measure taken, followed by health promotion measures (44%), age-appropriate workplaces (42%), semi-retirement (36%), as well as training measures targeting older staff (18%). 


The survey results also show, however, that the majority of companies (63%) employ staff members who are already drawing a pension. Most companies employ pensioners via mini-jobs (73%), and less frequently as part-time staff (29%), freelancers (8%) or in other capacities (8%, including, for example, full-time staff). When this is narrowed down to companies with urgent staff requirements that are seeking to fill several positions vacated due to the retirement at 63 rule, the survey results show that an above-average number of these companies report difficulties in filling vacant positions (73%), they more frequently implement measures for older staff (56%) and also employ pensioners more often (75%). The group of companies that fill all vacant positions tends to include smaller companies and firms from distribution and the service sector.  


Anita Jacob-Puchalska

Ifo Institute
Ifo Center for Industrial Organisation and New Technologies
Phone: +49(0)89/9224-1336
Fax: +49(0)89/985369
Email: jacob-puchalska @

Short URL: