Two thirds of Germany’s employees believe a four-day week won’t work (but mainly because of a worker shortage)

Author René Lebrun
June 6, 2024

Germany is renowned for its strong work ethic and efficient workforce, and over the past months and years has been pioneering a new concept in the world of work: the four-day week. There are many reasons that some of Germany’s employers are considering this shift from the traditional five-day structure, including:

  • A better work-life balance: Professionals all around the world – including Germany – are striving for a better work-life balance where they can spend more time with their families and on hobbies and personal wellbeing. Most employers support variations of work-life balance so they can build a happy and healthy workforce
  • A labour and talent shortage: There are an estimated 700,000 vacancies unfilled in Germany, according to Reuters. A four-day week could increase talent attraction as a tempting benefit, while potentially retaining employees and increasing their job satisfaction
  • Increased productivity: In theory, employees may experience better focus and efficiency during their working hours if they can look forward to a higher level of rest and rejuvenation. This could help to reduce sick days and enhance employee morale

Four-day weeks in Germany – feasible or flawed?

According to a recent survey commissioned by XING, two fifths (40%) of employees in Germany believe a four-day week with roughly the same weekly working hours would make an employer more attractive.

But only a third (30%) believe this model with reduced working hours and full salaries could work within the next five years. 66% of respondents who see the model as unfeasible believe that the labour and talent shortage is the largest obstacle.

“We need a realistic view of the economic situation, the situation on the labour market and the often limited scope for action that results from this for companies… German employees are largely aware of this gap between desire and reality and the resulting difficulties.”

Thomas Kindler, Managing Director at XING

The survey also distinguished between age groups to reveal that scepticism of the four-day working week increases by age:

  • 44% of 18 to 29-year-olds believe the model is feasible
  • 38% of 30 to 39-year olds believe the same
  • 31% of 40 to 49-year olds believe the same
  • 18% of over 50s believe the same

This could suggest that while big change might not happen soon, the leaders and workforces of the future might see things differently.

The biggest challenges for the four-day week

According to XING’s survey, there are core issues around the four-day week in Germany. Of the 66% of respondents who don’t believe the model is feasible:

  • 65% say there are not enough workers in Germany for the model to work
  • 52% believe the model isn’t financially viable for employers
  • 49% believe the model would increase workload on remaining days
  • 44% believe the model would face challenges in the current economic landscape

How recruitment consultants can help employers

“Every company should decide for itself whether the four-day week is feasible or not. However, many are reaching their business limits here because they lack the resources.”

Thomas Kindler, Managing Director at XING

As reiterated by XING’s Thomas Kindler, it’s up to businesses themselves whether to implement a four-day working week. There are many ways we can help employers consider and navigate this potential transition:

  • Attracting top talent: If employers decide to trial a four-day working week, we can help promote this as a selling point for potential candidates. Recruitment agencies are ultimately in a much stronger position to connect businesses (quickly) with top talent that’s right for them through extensive and unique candidate networks. These networks include passive and active candidates, ranging from generalists to specialists across all roles and sectors
  • General recruitment admin: According to LinkedIn, 70% of the global workforce are passive candidates who aren’t actively seeking a new job but 94% of passive candidates are open to new job opportunities. It’s therefore important to promote jobs in the most compelling and engaging way possible if businesses want to attract and excite these candidates. Agencies can write job descriptions with a persuasive narrative that highlights the benefits of working for businesses
  • Change management: The four-day model is likely to require some restructuring of a business’s workforce. It’s a common misconception that recruitment consultants only support new hires – we can also help look strategically at workforce structures and how to improve them
  • Market expertise: Businesses can connect with us for free guidance even if they haven’t started their hiring process yet. We have unique insight into the recruitment market across Germany, so we can provide expertise based on our own day-to-day conversations with candidates and other businesses and through our access to data and resources

You can get in touch using our form below if you would like to discuss the four-day working model or any other hiring needs.

Jobs

  • Information technology

Datenschutz-und Informationssicherheits-beauftragter (m/w/d)

Du bist ein Experte in den Bereichen Informationssicherheit, Notfallmanagement und Datenschutz und suchst nach einer neuen Herausforderung in einem modernen Bankenumfeld? Dann bist du hier uns genau richtig! Was wir bieten: Spannende und abwechslungsreiche Aufgaben in einem dynamischen Team Die Möglichkeit, aktiv die Zukunft der Bank mitzugestalten Ein modernes und innovatives Arbeitsumfeld Flexible Arbeitszeiten und […]
  • Salary Negotiable
  • Posted Posted 3 weeks ago
  • Information technology

Windows Systemadministrator (m/w/d)

Sie sind ein versierter Microsoft 365 Experte und möchten Ihre Fähigkeiten in einem dynamischen und zukunftsorientierten Unternehmen einbringen? Dann sollten wir uns unbedingt unterhalten! Ihr Auftrag: Als Microsoft 365 Admin (m/w/d) bei unserem Kunden im Donau-Ries-Kreis übernehmen Sie die Verantwortung für die reibungslose Funktion und Sicherheit der gesamten Microsoft 365 Umgebung. Sie betreuen Benutzer, Systeme […]
  • Salary Negotiable
  • Posted Posted 3 weeks ago
  • Information technology

Linuxadmin (m/w/d)

Sie sind ein leidenschaftlicher Linux-Experte und möchten Ihre Fähigkeiten in einem dynamischen und zukunftsorientierten Unternehmen einbringen? Dann sollten wir uns unbedingt unterhalten! Ihr Auftrag: Als Linux-Admin (m/w/d) bei unserem Kunden im Donau-Ries-Kreis übernehmen Sie die Verantwortung für die reibungslose Funktion und Sicherheit der gesamten Linux-Infrastruktur. Sie betreuen Server, Systeme und Anwendungen und sorgen dafür, dass […]
  • Salary Negotiable
  • Posted Posted 3 weeks ago
  • Information technology

Application Manager (m/w/d)

Über das Unternehmen: Mein Kunde ist ein führendes Unternehmen im Bereich IT-Dienstleistungen und Softwarelösungen mit Sitz in Frankfurt am Main und sucht für den Standort in Donaus-Ries. Man ist spezialisiert auf maßgeschneiderte IT-Lösungen für eine Vielzahl von Branchen und legen großen Wert auf Innovation und Kundenzufriedenheit. Das Team besteht aus über 150 engagierten Fachkräften, die […]
  • Salary Negotiable
  • Posted Posted 3 weeks ago
  • Information technology

Systemadministrator Storage (m/w/d) Datacenter

Für unseren Kunden aus dem Einzelhandel suchen wir zum nächstmöglichen Zeitpunkt einen Systemadministrator (m/w/d) Storage am Standort Essen. Aufgaben: Verwaltung, Überwachung und Optimierung der Storage-Systeme und SAN-Infrastruktur Planung und Implementierung von Speicherlösungen und -strategien zur Sicherstellung der Verfügbarkeit und Performance Administration von Storage Umgebungen On Premise sowie Cloud Lösungen mit Microsoft Azure und Oracle sowie […]
  • Salary Negotiable
  • Posted Posted 3 weeks ago
  • Information technology

System Administrator Storage (m/w/d)

Für unseren Kunden aus dem Einzelhandel suchen wir zum nächstmöglichen Zeitpunkt einen Systemadministrator (m/w/d) Storage am Standort Essen. Aufgaben: Verwaltung, Überwachung und Optimierung der Storage-Systeme und SAN-Infrastruktur Planung und Implementierung von Speicherlösungen und -strategien zur Sicherstellung der Verfügbarkeit und Performance Administration von Storage Umgebungen On Premise sowie Cloud Lösungen mit Microsoft Azure und Oracle sowie […]
  • Salary Negotiable
  • Posted Posted 3 weeks ago

Featured Content