As of the reporting date, March 31, 2017, the voestalpine Group had 45,866 employees (excluding apprentices and temporary employees), and, with that, around 820 employees or 1.8% more than by March 31, 2016. In addition, there are 1,320 apprentices and 3,680 leased employees, which adds up to a total of 49,703 FTEs (full-time equivalents) and represents a rise in the headcount of 2.8% (or 1,336 FTEs) compared to the previous year. The number of temporary employees rose in a year-to-year comparison by 8.6% from 3,389 to 3,680 FTEs. About 53.5% of the employees (26,590 FTEs) are working at Group sites outside of Austria and 23,113 employees in Austrian companies.
As of the reporting date, March 31, 2017, the voestalpine Group was training 1,320 apprentices, 60.5% in Austrian companies and 39.5% at sites abroad. Compared to the previous year, the number of apprentices has decreased by 57 or 4.1%.
Employee participation plan
The voestalpine employee participation plan was established in 2001 and has since been continually expanded. Besides all of the employees in Austria, personnel in Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Italy and Switzerland are enrolled. The expansion of participation at locations abroad was again further advanced in the business year 2016/17.
The voestalpine Mitarbeiterbeteiligung Privatstiftung (employee foundation for the Group’s employee participation plan) is the second largest shareholder of the voestalpine AG. As of March 31, 2017, 24,100 employees participate in the plan and hold a total of 24.1 million shares, which represents 13.6% of the Company’s share capital due to the general bundling of voting rights (previous year: 13.4%). In addition, the foundation also manages about 1.9 million “private shares” owned by current and former employees (corresponding to about 1.2% of the voting shares). Thus, as of March 31, 2017, 14.8% of voestalpine AG’s share capital (previous year: 14.5%) is owned by employees.
The Stahlstiftung (Steel Foundation) in Austria
In 1987, the “Stahlstiftung” (Steel Foundation) was founded in Austria as an employee foundation with the goal to provide former employees of the previous VOEST-ALPINE Group as well as employees from a number of companies outside of the Group, who had to leave due to a crisis, with the opportunity of a professional reorientation through up to four years of training and continuing education courses in order to compensate for or at least alleviate the impact of the job loss.
In the business year 2016/17, more than 86% of the participants looking for work were able to find new professional perspectives with the help of the Stahlstiftung, despite the ongoing difficult situation on the Austrian labor market.
As of the reporting date, March 31, 2017, a total of 455 individuals received assistance from the Stahlstiftung of whom 51.7% were former employees of the voestalpine Group. The total number of active Stahlstiftung members in the business year 2016/17 was 770 and 1.8% below that of the previous year (784 persons).
Apprentices and young skilled workers
In November 2016, the fourth voestalpine Group Apprentice Day was held at the voestalpine AG headquarters in Linz. 330 apprentices from Austria and Germany attended together with their trainers. The goal of the event is to introduce the apprentices to as many of their young colleagues as possible as well as to the Group.
The Company invests about EUR 70,000 in the comprehensive three- or four-year training program per apprentice. In order to efficiently approach potential apprentices, social media activities via Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Watchado, and Instagram were continuously intensified over the past years. The impressive number of apprenticeship completions confirms the validity of these investments in the future: 96.4% of the apprentices in Austria and Germany who took their final examination in the last business year passed. Of the Austrian graduates, 69.0% even passed with “good” or “excellent” grades.
For the apprenticeship year 2017/18 beginning in the fall of 2017, voestalpine offers around 370 new apprenticeship positions in Austria and Germany alone. Currently, training for 50 vocational occupations is being offered at 38 sites. Every year, prior to enrollment and as an introduction, schoolchildren and their parents are invited to an “open house event” at a number of sites to find out about the wide range of training and apprenticeship options.
Development of executives
In the business year 2016/17, 186 participants (15.1% female participation) from 25 countries began their the training courses in various categories of the voestalpine management development system as part of the group-wide development of executives or “value:program”. It provides target group-specific training and advancement programs for all executive levels based on a combination of classroom and online courses, including external postgraduate and business school extensions. In addition to specialized tasks, focal points include strategy, change management, leadership, compliance, and organization.
Other development programs
In order to foster and strengthen required employee competences in a targeted manner, some programs are being offered on a continuous basis, such as the Purchasing Power Academy, the HR Academy, the China Young Professional Training Program and the High Mobility Pool Program whose “generation 2015” just recently started their professional career after two years of training; “generation 2017” is following suit.
The further development portfolio for employees contains numerous other programs and training offerings at the divisional and business unit level.
In October 2016, another employee survey was conducted as is done every three years. This survey included 201 Group companies in 47 countries and was conducted anonymously based on an online or paper questionnaire in 25 different languages, and with almost 47,000 employees invited to take part, constituted a near full census. The objective of this regularly conducted survey is a continuous improvement of the work environment at voestalpine from identifying personal job satisfaction, information needs to organization and management behavior. The return rate of 77% not only set the standards for meaningful results, but even exceeded the already high return in 2013 (75%). Within the Group, each company involved will work out measures of improvement based on the respective results and prepare a report using a comprehensive reporting tool. Important fields of action that need to be focused on are “Professional development” and “Leadership”. Overall, the employee survey confirmed the present course of the Group’s development, despite the different results per region and business unit due to the difficult economic environment of the past years.
Cooperation with universities
Many voestalpine Group companies offer internships for college and university students; one special focus here includes scientific papers from students in cooperation with voestalpine companies. Currently numerous diploma and master theses as well as dissertations are being prepared within the Group.
For several years now, voestalpine has offered students from Emory University (Atlanta, USA) a ten week internship. In exchange, students of the Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria, receive a scholarship to Emory University. In another special educational program, students in the international “ACT – Austria, Canada, Taiwan” course, a joint study program of the Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria, the University of Victoria, Canada, and the National Sun Yat-sen University in Kaohsiung in Taiwan, take part in project work lasting several weeks at the Group’s Linz location.
The Leoben University of Mining and Metallurgy in Austria is also involved in several educational cooperations. They range from sponsoring commitments to encourage young people to study for technical degrees, to voestalpine talks, a cooperative event with all student representatives, and participation in the student fair “teconomy.” In March 2017, after a three year hiatus, the “voestalpine Student Meet” was held for the second time at the Leoben University of Mining and Metallurgy offering 450 students the opportunity to attend presentations by all six members of the voestalpine Board and ask questions and be introduced to executives and employees of the Group.