A new trend is gaining popularity in Germany: several companies are asking retired employees to come back to work. It is their expertise that the firms want, and their willingness to pass it on to younger workers.
Emil Kniel retired from Daimler back in April after a 20-plus-year career at the German car-maker. But now he is back at work part-time. The 62-year-old engineer is in a pool of former employees at Daimler lending skilled hands to younger generations.
Emil Kniel retired from Daimler back in April after a 20-plus-year career at the German carmaker. But now he's back at work part-time.
"We already have the know-how, we know the whole structure. Everyone benefits. As a senior worker with expertise, it's a great feeling that they still need us, and that we're still important," Kniel said.
The scheme is dubbed “Space Cowboys” after a Hollywood movie about retired astronauts heading back into orbit. But Emil's feet are planted firmly on the ground. He is running a small team tasked with adapting the factory to the needs of its aging workforce. Right now they are developing ways for employees to sit as they work on assembly lines.
"Since Mr. Kniel has lots of experience, we can learn a lot from him. Not just in the professional sense, but also from a social aspect. How to behave with other people, that can be very helpful for us," said Bettina Burger, Daimler apprentice.
Daimler has about 600 Space Cowboys to call on. Emil works three days a week and is paid by the day. Not only does the cash come in useful, Emil says it is good way for retirees to transition to their new lives. It is also a big win for his employer.
Emil Kniel, senior expert of German car maker Daimler, is in charge of a small team tasked with adapting the factory to the needs of its ageing workforce.
"It's true that these senior employees are cheaper than external consultants. But it serves primarily to maintain and provide the Daimler know-how. It makes a lot of sense for us as a company," said Christina Joos, manager of Daimler Human Resources.
Daimler is not the only German firm leaning on the skills of retired employees. Electronics maker Bosch has been running a similar program since the late 1990s. More may follow as the country's rapidly aging population and low birth rate deplete the pool of skilled workers.
Emil is getting the best of both worlds and says, as long as he has his health, he will keep going for a few more years.
- Editor:Annabelle | Source: Agencies
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