This article is adapted from the business magazine Capital and is available here for ten days. Afterwards it will only be available to read at Like stern, Capital belongs to RTL Deutschland.

Mr. Schick, SAP is cutting 8,000 jobs worldwide and 2,600 people are to leave in Germany. How great is your frustration? Frustration would be wrong. Many older employees are really looking forward to being able to retire with a golden handshake. And SAP pays such generous severance payments of around 1.5 months’ salary per year of operation that it would be stupid to stay. If you are now over 60 and have saved up for a working time account, you practically have to leave. Otherwise they would continue to work for free. We estimate that at least 2,000 of the 4,000 eligible people will accept the exit offer. SAP has set aside two billion euros for early retirement and volunteer programs and really offers a very attractive program.

Nobody gets fired? No, those who leave do so voluntarily. We want to extend the existing employment guarantee by another two years until the end of 2026.

And what about those who stay? I’m more worried about them. Because the workload could increase – even if SAP promises to hire new people again by the end of the year. The volunteer program for everyone who went into partial retirement last year is stupid. They can’t use it now and are annoyed. But that is a luxury problem.

But isn’t that a fatal signal: SAP is sending large numbers of people into retirement at the age of 55. At the same time, there is a lack of specialists and our society is discussing the fact that we could work longer, even at an older age. That irritates me. Many people in their mid-fifties and older enjoy working and are happy when they learn something new or get a new challenge. I became chairman of the SAP works council at the age of 55, it challenges me and I don’t want to miss it. But it’s almost a tradition at SAP; the board sets up a restructuring program every five years.

But why not put the money into further training instead of severance payments? At the turn of the millennium, SAP hired a lot of younger people in their 30s, who are now all in their mid-50s and older. This is not an optimal employment structure. We can’t all grow old together here. SAP should have addressed the problem beforehand. However, I think it’s a shame that SAP has no idea what useful jobs it could offer people over 50 or how it could cleverly use mixed teams with younger and older people.

What actually happened to the daddy months at SAP? Father’s leave is no longer an issue at SAP and has been officially discontinued. The board argued with the international comparison, according to the motto: “We should treat all fathers equally.” Personally, I regret this very much and believe that SAP missed a great opportunity.