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Demography project at Unilever in Germany

Initiated by the German Unilever groups works council (Konzernbetriebsrat) of Germany in 2011, both HR management and works council agreed on a joint demography project to actively handle the impact and challenges of demographic change at the company level.

Based on a specific agreement adopted by groups works council and management on the objectives and content of this demography project, an internal project management was specifically established to coordinate and supervise all related activities.

The entire demography project is chaired by a bipartite steering committee and is divided into four thematic working groups:

  • Organisation
  • Health management
  • Qualification and training
  • Recruitment

The project also underlies a particular time schedule which plans the implementation of first instruments at the factory level at a certain moment.


To establish a culture of awareness for demographic change at Unilever.

  • to implement regular age structure analysis (every 3 years) as a basis for recommendations for action, e.g. recruitment of new employees or training needs
  • to create working conditions matching the requirements of an ageing workforce
  • lifelong learning: to design specific training and qualification programmes for older employees
  • to establish a management culture sensitive to the needs of an ageing workforce
  • to implement active health management and life cycle oriented working time arrangements

Outcome and achievements

Unilever management recognized the need to actively handle the challenges of demographic change. The demography project is currently in an implementation phase (as of 2015) and has already led to the successful implementation of several positive concepts, e.g. company-own kindergarten or pilot phase for a new shift schedule in a Unilever factory in Heppenheim (supported by project TIL). According to the chairman of the works council the implementation of one/two specific demography related initiatives at the factories level is planned until end of 2015.

Costs: covered by the company.