As of the close of the business year 2017/18 (March 31, 2018), the voestalpine Group had 47,603 employees (excluding apprentices and temporary employees) and thus around 1,737 employees or 3.8% more than as of March 31, 2017. Including the 1,301 apprentices and 3,868 temporary employees, the resulting total is 51,621 full-time equivalents (FTEs); this represents a year-over-year increase in the total headcount of 3.9% (or 1,918 FTEs).
Compared with the previous business year, the headcount of temporary personnel (3,868) represents an increase of 5.1%.
A total of 54.1% of the employees (27,922 FTEs) work at Group sites outside of Austria and 23,699 employees in Austrian voestalpine companies.
As of the reporting date (March 31, 2018), the voestalpine Group was training 1,301 apprentices: 59.5% of them in Austrian companies and 40.5% at sites abroad. Compared with the previous year, the number of apprentices overall has decreased by 19 individuals or 1.4%.
Employee participation plan
voestalpine has had an employee participation plan since 2001, which has been continually expanded since then. Besides all of the employees in Austria, employees in Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland, and Romania have a share in “their” company. The expansion of the number of participating personnel at locations abroad continued in the business year 2017/18.
The voestalpine Mitarbeiterbeteiligung Privatstiftung (employee foundation for the Group’s employee participation plan) is the second largest shareholder of voestalpine AG. As of March 31, 2018, a total of 25,100 employees have a stake in voestalpine AG through voestalpine Mitarbeiterbeteiligung Privatstiftung. They hold about 22.8 million shares which, due to the general bundling of voting rights, represent 12.9% of the Company’s share capital (previous year: 13.6%). In addition, the foundation manages about 2.0 million “private shares” owned by former and current Group employees, which they may freely dispose of; this corresponds to an additional 1.1% of the voting shares. As of March 31, 2018, therefore, 14.0% of voestalpine AG’s share capital (previous year: 14.8%) is owned by employees.
The Stahlstiftung (steel foundation)
In 1987, the “Stahlstiftung” (Steel Foundation) was founded in Linz, Austria, as an employee fund with the aim of providing not only employees of the VOEST-ALPINE Group (as it was called at the time), who had to leave due to a crisis, but also employees of companies outside of the Group the opportunity to realign themselves professionally while undergoing up to four years of training and continuing education in order to offset or at least alleviate the impact of the job loss.
In the business year 2017/18, more than 88% of the participants looking for work were able to develop a new professional perspective with the help of the Stahlstiftung.
As of the reporting date (March 31, 2018), the Stahlstiftung was supporting a total of 374 individuals, 56.7% of whom were participants from voestalpine Group companies. The total number of active Stahlstiftung participants in the business year 2017/18 was 676, i.e. 12.2% less than the previous year (770 individuals).
Apprentices and young skilled workers
The fifth voestalpine Group Apprentice Day was held at the headquarters of voestalpine AG in Linz, Austria, in October 2017. Three hundred and fifty apprentices from Austria and Germany attended together with their trainers. The event aims to introduce the Group employees in training to as many of their young colleagues from other locations as possible and, at the same time, to give them something of a first-hand overview of the Group.
The Company invests about EUR 70,000 per apprentice in the comprehensive three- or four-year apprenticeship program. In order to efficiently approach potential apprentices, voestalpine has continuously expanded its social media activities via Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Watchado, and Instagram in recent years. Using the Job Bot, voestalpine has also been offering an innovative job search option on Facebook since the current business year. By using this chatbot technology, the Company is setting a benchmark in digital HR communications yet again.
The Group’s excellent performance in terms of the number of apprentices who complete their programs is creating a solid base of skilled workers for the future: 96.7% of the apprentices who sat for their exams in Austria and Germany in the past business year passed their final apprenticeship exam. Of the Austrian graduates, 58.1% even got “good” or “excellent” grades. At the WorldSkills 2017 Competition in Abu Dhabi (a vocational education and skills excellence championship), the voestalpine apprentices were awarded a “Medallion for Excellence” yet again. During the business year just ended, the voestalpine training center in Kapfenberg, Austria, was awarded the Austrian National Prize for “Best Apprentice Training Companies – Fit for Future” for its forward-looking approach to training. Projects such as the “digital learning factory,” which already train our apprentices for the coming digitalization, carried the day with the jury.
For the apprenticeship year 2018/19 beginning in the fall of 2018, voestalpine is offering around 415 new apprenticeships in Austria and Germany alone. This concerns a total of 50 vocational occupations at 40 companies. Every year, many of these companies organize an “Open House” ahead of time where schoolchildren and their parents can obtain information in person on the wide range of training and apprenticeship options.
Development of executives
In the business year 2017/18, 254 participants (15.7% of which were women) from 24 countries began their training course in various categories of the voestalpine management development system as part of the Group-wide development of executives or “value:program.” It provides training and advancement programs tailored to target groups for all executive levels based on a combination of classroom and online courses, including external programs for postgraduates and those attending business schools. In addition to specialized tasks, focal points include strategy, change management, leadership, compliance, and organization.
Other development programs
In order to foster and boost required employee capabilities and skills in targeted fashion, a number of programs are being offered more or less continually, such as the Purchasing Power Academy, the HR Academy, the China Young Professional Training Program, the Early Career Program in North America, or the High Mobility Pool whose “Generation 2018” just recently started their two-year program.
Numerous other programs and training options in individual divisions and business units complement the Group-wide training and continuing education portfolio for employees.
Comprehensive employee surveys are conducted in the voestalpine Group at three-year intervals. The most recent one took place in October 2016, and about 47,000 employees from over 200 companies in 47 countries were surveyed. The generally pleasing findings confirmed the Company’s strengths relative to its employees yet again, but also shed light on critical aspects that remain unresolved. The first reporting on the steps taken in response to the survey took place in December 2017 and January 2018. Most of them concern issues such as “information & communication,” “professional development options,” and “identification/employer.”
Cooperation with universities
Many voestalpine Group companies offer internships for college and university students; one special focus here includes scientific papers by students in cooperation with voestalpine companies. Currently, a total of around 200 masters theses and dissertations are being written in cooperation with the Group.
For several years now, voestalpine has offered students of Emory University (Atlanta, Georgia, USA) a ten-week internship in the Group. In exchange, students of the Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria, receive a scholarship to Emory University. Under another special program, students enrolled in the international “ACT – Austria, Canada, Taiwan” training course—a joint project of Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria; the University of Victoria, Canada; and the National Sun Yat-sen University in Kaohsiung, Taiwan—take part in project work lasting several weeks at the Group’s Linz site.
There are also numerous educational collaboration projects with the University of Mining and Metallurgy in Leoben, Austria. They range from sponsoring commitments to generate interest among young people in aiming for a degree in a technical field, to the so-called “voestalpine talks” (a collaborative event with all student representatives), all the way to support for the annual “teconomy” student trade fair.