The central focus of this essay is an analysis of the weaknesses of the current structural options that aim to allow older employees to continue working. The point of departure of the analysis is a reappraisal of the questions arising from the employment of older people in the internal and external labour market. In the course of the investigation it shall become clear that the competencies, or rather, the lifelong development of competencies, constitutes the key problem in laying the foundations for the further employment of older workers. There is however insufficient data in this field of research, since other than formal qualifications scarcely any information about employees’ skills is available. Particularly in the case of those over the age of 45, one simply ‘fumbles about in the dark’. When comparing the various structural options (e.g. part-time work for older people, teamwork, HR planning for the future, etc.) competency development assumes a decisive role. Yet management of competency development in the technocratic sense proves unsuited to meet the requirements for the further employment of older employees. The organisation of competency development should rather be conceptualised as originating from the particular self-regulating processes and mechanisms in question and should simultaneously be integrated into the company’s human resource and organisational development.