European Business: You negotiate jobs for so-called senior talent. Is this a model that will, in the future, become compulsory in order to receive a pension?
Klaudia Bachinger: I believe that the demographic change is society’s second greatest challenge after climate change. We are living longer and, at the same time, stay young for longer. 60-year-olds today have the biological age of the 40-year-olds of 100 years ago. It is therefore crazy to push people in their early 60s out of the job market and force them into retirement. It is not an obligation for employees, it is an opportunity! People want to have a role in life, the chance to create things, to interact with other people and to develop themselves - that remains true as we get older.
"People want to have a role in life, the chance to create things, to interact with other people and to develop themselves - that remains true as we get older." Klaudia Bachinger
European Business: WisR brings the older and younger generations together using the Matching tool. How does such a match happen?
Klaudia Bachinger: When registering, the senior talent creates a CV using a combination of free text and ‘tags’. This data is matched with companies’ job requirements. There are two ways for the two sides to find each other. Senior talent can apply to companies, and companies can proactively search for and contact people in the pool. And, of course, we’re also working on an intelligent algorithm to learn what senior talent and businesses are looking for.
European Business: Up to now, you have been active in Austria and Germany. Do you think that this model could be a Europe-wide solution to the skills shortage?
Klaudia Bachinger: Absolutely. Because we have an English-language website, we are already getting requests from countries such as Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, as well as Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Israel and the UK. I see huge potential, above all in the East where huge numbers of young people have moved to Western Europe and companies are finding it particularly hard to find employees. Beyond Europe, the countries hardest affected by the skills shortage are those which are experiencing strong economic growth: Mexico, Russia, South Korea and Brazil, for example.
"In every phase of life, people have abilities that are particularly prominent." Klaudia Bachinger
European Business: What does senior talent bring that newcomers do not yet have?
Klaudia Bachinger: In every phase of life, people have abilities that are particularly prominent. While in our youth, we have a certain naivety and the courage to try things out, we become more efficient as we get older. Life experience means having already experienced and processed many situations, so senior talent is better at understanding complex relationships and recognizing patterns of behaviour. This is particularly advantageous when dealing with customers, in sales and negotiation discussions, as well as in process optimization and quality assurance. Many years of expertise in a particular field is an added benefit.
European Business: In which professions have you, to date, most often facilitated jobs for senior talent?
Klaudia Bachinger: Senior talent is currently being sought primarily in the areas of sales, customer service and reception, accounting, payroll accounting and controlling, as well as in technical areas such as plant maintenance. In many large corporations, experienced employees are often used in the areas of quality assurance and management, process optimization and business development. It would be very exciting to use more senior talent in innovation projects and in the development and marketing of new products. Unfortunately, there are still too few innovation departments in Germany that positively foster inclusion. This is actually very surprising when you consider that the 55+ generation is the most affluent target group and has great interest in new innovative services and products.
European Business: Thinking many years ahead, what job would you like to do as a pensioner?
Klaudia Bachinger: Ha! No one has ever asked me this question. I think I will always be entrepreneurial and will continue to work on innovative solutions, even at the age of 90. I would also really enjoy teaching younger people, and people of my own age, and would maybe even be interested in going into education policy.
Interview: Vera Gaidies | Photos: WisR GmbH