Money or Life?

Bernhard v. Rothkirch

Dear reader,

"Worl-life-balance" starts with "work", as stressed by Admiral Stawitzki, then head of the German Armed Forces Academy on occasion of his lecture to the DFK's regional group in Cologne in 2016. How has work-life-balance changed during recent years? Which role does work play for us and which one does life?

What is the incentive for us, to frequently work 50 hours and more per week, as DFK's latest questionnaire on salary and working time has confirmed? What motivates us to go to the office, to drive to the factory or to embark on a business trip every day in order to get engaged with superiors and employees for the company's welfare?

Is it salary or remuneration, respectively? Depending on the company's offer, consisting of fixed and variable salary components, long-term incentives and employee’s shares, complemented by in-kind remuneration such as company cellphone, company car or company flat - if those are available.

Or is it other things? The meaning of different incentives, acting as motivators for work, has changed. Companies counting on money only have barely a chance with young applicants, even if it is Siemens or Apple.

In contrast to the past, Generation Y enjoys life next to work. Money and career advance are less important - at least at the beginning. They want to have time for themselves and their families. For them, it can be more important that their employer provides e. g. a company crèche which assists in reconciling work and family.

They do not want to work in a top-down hierarchy with a clumsy communication and decision making structure. They want co-decide. For them, working in teams and, thus, flat hierarchies are pivotal. They look for interesting tasks which are challenging to them and offer always new learning effects. Instead of the culture to be present from "nine to five" they look for flexible work and working time models with desk-sharing and home office options. Even sabbaticals are not strange to them. Companies offering such incentives have better chances on the labour market.

An issue which gains importance again and for the first time also with young employees as well as with managers is corporate pensions. For monetary reasons, expensive schemes with a high company contribution were abandoned a while ago for e. g. modular schemes, in which employees could pay in and were guaranteed a minimum interest rate by the employer or there was no offer of a corporate pension at all. Since for financing of state pensions, the statutory pension age was raised and next to the state pension further pillars of retirement schemes are demanded, voices increase in politics to enhance corporate pension schemes. This means that corporate pension schemes are an additional incentive when it comes to choosing an employer. It is now with the companies to cover this field.  

Bernhard v. Rothkirch