As of March 31, 2011, the voestalpine Group had 40,700 employees worldwide (core staff, not including apprentices and temporary personnel). Compared to the previous year’s figure (39,406 employees), this corresponds to a gain of 3.3% or 1,294 employees. The number of temporary personnel Group-wide increased in the business year 2010/11 by 36.7% (from 2,951 to 4,036).
21,760 (core) employees (53.5%) are working at locations outside Austria, while 18,940 employees (46.5%) are working at Austrian companies.
As of the end of the business year 2010/11, the voestalpine Group was also training 1,330 apprentices (with 66.2% or 880 young people being trained at Austrian locations and 33.8% or 450 apprentices being trained at international Group sites). Compared to the previous year, the number of apprentices being trained has declined by 9.6%.
Crisis management in the HR sector
As of March 31, 2011, the total workforce (core and temporary personnel) was still 2,446 employees or 5.2% below the figure as of the end of September 2008 (47,182 employees) directly prior to the global economic crisis, however, the trend differs from division to division. For example, the total workforce in the Railway Systems and Automotive Divisions is already at the pre-crisis level.
The difference in the number of employees to the fall of 2008 results from the fact that additionally required personnel capacity in production is largely covered not by regular employees but—where this is possible and feasible—by temporary personnel in order to ensure as much flexibility as possible considering the anticipated trend toward substantial fluctuations in demand, in other words, to enable the Company to react quickly and appropriately to crises in the future, while at the same time retaining a stable level of core staff.
Furthermore, the difference in the number of employees to the pre-crisis level is also grounded in the significant improvement of Group productivity as a result of the broad-based optimization processes during the past two years. For example, the Steel Division’s total workforce (core employees and temporary personnel) was still markedly smaller than in September 2008, despite a capacity utilization of 100% in the business year 2010/11, which was due in large part to efficiency improvements within the scope of “Future,” the division’s reorganization project.
The other measures taken in the HR sector to deal with the economic crisis (e.g., reduced working hours, using up compensatory time and vacation accruals, educational leave, early retirement models, part-time work for employees nearing retirement age, and other measures) have, for the most part, already been gradually eliminated or are set to expire shortly—of course always taking the individual environment into consideration.
Currently, only 26 employees are still working reduced hours and the number of employees taking educational leave was reduced in the past business year by 96% to only 26 employees. Compared to the previous year, the number of participants in the classic work foundation model (“Steel Foundation“) has already gone down by about one third to 379 persons from the voestalpine Group, and it is anticipated that in the business year 2012/13 it will return to its pre-crisis level. The placement rate of the work foundation in the past business year was at 84%, i.e., 4 out of 5 employees who were moved to the Steel Foundation during the crisis found a new job by improving their qualifications or going through retraining.
Employee shareholding scheme
The voestalpine AG employee shareholding scheme, which has existed for ten years, has now been expanded to 34 Group companies in Austria, Germany, Great Britain, and the Netherlands. In the current business year 2011/12, the gradual inclusion of additional companies in Poland and Belgium is planned.
As of the end of the business year 2010/11, 21,400 employees of voestalpine AG are participating in this scheme through the voestalpine Mitarbeiterbeteiligung Privatstiftung and hold about 20.5 million shares. With a holding of 12.15% of the share capital, employees are the second largest core shareholder of voestalpine AG.
About 1.5 million private shares owned by current and former employees (this corresponds to 0.89% of the voting shares) are also managed by the voestalpine Mitarbeiterbeteiligung Privatstiftung.
Thus, currently 13.04% of voestalpine AG’s share capital is owned by its employees.
Professional development of employees and executives
In the past business year, extensive measures with regard to the development of employees and executives continued to be rapidly implemented within the voestalpine Group, and, at the same time, the international focus of individual programs was significantly intensified.
Development of executives
Due to the strong global growth of the voestalpine Group in recent years, the requirements for future executives have been substantially broadened so that the Group’s management development program was completely overhauled and refocused with regard to content and quality. The program, which has been renamed “value:program,“ is taking the requirements that go hand in hand with the Group’s internationalization into greater consideration both with regard to training content and programmatic concepts and is also aiming to connect training content with company objectives more closely. In the business year 2010/11, more than 130 executives and potential executives from more than 20 countries participated in this training.
The structures and content of the high mobility pool, which was established twelve years ago, have also been comprehensively revised. It provides high potentials with a few years of professional experience with the opportunity to get to know the voestalpine Group by way of concrete projects within the individual divisions and sectors. This training concept goes far beyond a traditional trainee program, and it allows the participants who go through this training to qualify for concrete leadership and project tasks due to the experience and the broad-based knowledge of the organization they have acquired. In the past business year, candidates were recruited Europe-wide for the first time.
The employee survey that is carried out in three-year intervals also emphasized how strongly the voestalpine Group’s internationalization has increased. This survey was conducted in the past business year among 35,000 employees, which corresponds to more than 85% of the Group’s total workforce, in 116 companies, twelve countries, and nine languages. There was a 64% response rate, and concrete measures will be derived from the results and implemented in the interval to the next survey; improved communication between management and employees as well as the continued enhancement of management competency will be top priorities. Overall, the survey again made clear just how strongly employees identify—by international standards as well—with “their” voestalpine.