Employment is a major driver of material living standards and non-material
well-being. However, it can also be an important source of stress and poor health,
diminishing employability later in life, if job quality is low (OECD, 2010).
Germany performs comparatively well in terms of earnings in international comparison, but falls below the
OECD average in terms of quality of the working environment. For example, 19% of German
workers report difficult and stressful working conditions, which is more than twice as high
as for Denmark and the Netherlands. Low quality of the working environment and high
stress contribute to poor self-reported health and to sickness absence and raise the risk of
mental illness and associated early retirement (Argaw et al., 2013; Barnay, 2014; OECD,
The share of disability benefits recipients with mental ill-health increased
substantially in recent years, especially among those aged 55 to 60.