As of the close of the business year 2018/19 on March 31, 2019, the voestalpine Group had 48,792 employees (excluding apprentices and temporary employees) and thus around 1,189 employees or 2.5% more than as of March 31, 2018. Including the 1,310 apprentices and 3,300 temporary employees, the number of full-time equivalents (FTEs) is 51,907; this represents a year-over-year increase of 0.6% (or 287 FTEs) in the total headcount.
Compared with the previous business year, the number of temporary personnel (3,300) represents a decrease of 14.7%.
A total of 55.1% of the employees (28,575 FTEs) work at Group sites outside of Austria, and 23,332 employees work in Austrian voestalpine companies.
As of the reporting date (March 31, 2019), the voestalpine Group was training 1,310 apprentices: 61.5% of them in Austrian companies and 38.5% at locations abroad. Compared with the previous year, the total number of apprentices has risen by nine individuals or 0.7%.
Employee shareholding scheme
voestalpine has had an employee shareholding scheme 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, Romania, Spain, and Sweden also have a share in “their” company.
The voestalpine Mitarbeiterbeteiligung Privatstiftung (employee foundation for the Group’s employee shareholding scheme) is the second largest shareholder of voestalpine AG. As of March 31, 2019, a total of 25,500 employees have a stake in voestalpine AG through this foundation. They hold about 24 million shares which, due to the general bundling of voting rights, represent 13.4% of the company’s share capital (previous year: 12.9%). In addition, former and active employees of voestalpine hold approx. 2.5 million “private shares” of voestalpine AG (which corresponds to 1.4% of the voting shares), the voting rights of which are also exercised by the foundation as long as the given employees do not exercise their right to dispose of these shares. On the whole, therefore, as of March 31, 2019, the voting rights of 14.8% of the share capital of voestalpine AG are bundled in the foundation.
The Stahlstiftung (steel foundation)
In 1987, the so-called 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 were dismissed during crises, but also employees of companies outside of the Group the opportunity to reorient themselves professionally while undergoing up to four years of training and continuing education in order to offset or at least alleviate the impact of losing their jobs.
In the business year 2018/19, about 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, 2019), the Stahlstiftung supported a total of 296 individuals, 60.8% of whom were participants from voestalpine Group companies. The total number of active Stahlstiftung participants in the business year 2018/19 was 560, i.e. 17.2% less than in the previous year (676 individuals).
Apprentices and young skilled workers
The sixth voestalpine Group Apprentice Day was held at the headquarters of voestalpine AG in Linz, Austria, in December 2018. About 350 apprentices from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland attended the event together with their trainers. The event aims to introduce the Group’s apprentice employees to as many of their young colleagues from other Group sites as possible, but also to give them something of a first-hand overview, so to speak, of the Group.
Per apprentice, the company invests about EUR 70,000 in the comprehensive three or four-year training 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.
The Group’s excellent numbers in terms of completed apprenticeships create a solid base of skilled workers for the future: 98.7% of the apprentices in Austria and Germany passed their final apprenticeship exam in the past business year; of the Austrian graduates, 70.2% even did so with “good” or “excellent” grades. Numerous medals were to be had in connection with a variety of Austrian state championships—a total of 13 medals just in connection with the “Upper Austrian Apprentice Awards.” At the Austrian Skills 2018 Championships (a vocational education and skills competition), the voestalpine apprentices won the Austrian title and third place in the Electrical Systems category.
As an innovative company, it is of great importance to voestalpine to ensure that its apprentices delve into the issue of digitalization/Industry 4.0 from the start of their training. A variety of digitalization projects as well as, in particular, a new lab for electrical and automation technology at the Group’s site in Kapfenberg, Austria, serve to boost digital skills as part of the training and thus to ensure the availability of skilled workers in the future. The apprentices are supported by highly motivated trainers, who impart knowledge far beyond statutory standards. At the first voestalpine trainers meeting in March 2019, the participants shared their real-life experiences; here, too, the issue of how to teach digitalization was a key topic.
For the apprenticeship year 2019/20 that begins in the fall of 2019, voestalpine is offering about 480 new apprenticeships in Austria and Germany alone. Before the training starts, many of the 40 companies organize an “Open House,” where students and their parents can obtain information in person on the wide range of vocational training and education (VET) options.
Humans as the locus of communication
A key aspect of a communications campaign conducted in the business year 2018/19 focused on the issue of “Humans in the voestalpine Group.” This campaign underscores the priority voestalpine attaches to its employees, whose performance makes a decisive contribution to the company’s business performance, day in and day out. Numerous employee portraits were created as part of this campaign; the Group’s website currently displays them in organized fashion on a new, interactive world map. This turns the company’s employees into its authentic ambassadors.
In the past business year, too, voestalpine continued to rely on a comprehensive, Group-wide executive development program based on its tried and tested “value:program.” One hundred and seventy-six employees from 24 countries participated in this multi-level leadership program during the business year 2018/19. It provides target group-specific training and advancement programs for all executive levels based on a combination of classroom and online courses, including supplementary options for attending external postgraduate and business school programs. What makes this program special—aside from the skills training offered by leading international experts and the broad range of the program’s methods—is the intensive collaboration on the part of representatives from voestalpine’s expanded leadership team, irrespective of whether they are speakers, project managers, or even sparring partners, so to speak, in wide-ranging exchanges of experience. This mixture of external and internal know-how along with the interest across the entire Group in ensuring that employees possess advanced qualifications make the voestalpine leadership program a central component of the Group’s claim to being “one step ahead.”
Other employee development programs
In order to foster and boost required employee capabilities and skills in a manner that is both functional and regional, the Group offers a number of additional programs: For example, this includes the “Purchasing Power Academy”; the “HR Academy”; the “Early Career Program” in North America; and the “Young Professional Training Program” (YPTP) in China. Following highly successful start-up years, 2018 was the first time a refresher program was carried out for former YPTP participants. Twenty-nine select participants, who had completed the YPTP in 2015 and 2016, were invited to a three-day refresher training. Besides professional training, the focus again was on the mutual exchange of experiences as well as on the opportunity to engage in personal networking within the Group. The “High Mobility Pool” executive development program was also repeated in the business year 2018/19 in order to foster international talent. This program is aimed at young, international college graduates with a few years of professional experience, who carry out project work worldwide at a high level within a predefined period. It gives young, talented individuals the opportunity to rapidly absorb corporate practice and to promote international networks within the Group through their projects.
Numerous other programs and training options in individual divisions and business units complement the Group-wide training and advancement portfolio available to voestalpine’s employees.
A total of 377 improvements were suggested in connection with the Group-wide employee survey conducted in 2016. Ninety-four percent of these suggestions have already been or are still being implemented. The next, slightly modified voestalpine employee survey will be carried out in the fall of 2019. Changes include a reduction in the interview period from three years to two, the fact that the entire survey will be conducted online, as well as a simplified and shortened questionnaire. In turn, these adjustments will enable a number of changes: simpler and more efficient survey processing, quicker preparation of the results, and a less complex process of analyzing the survey’s findings. The employee survey will be conducted in 48 countries, 26 languages, and more than 230 companies. On the whole, some 47,000 employees will be able to participate in it. The Group will continue to measure the key indicator, “commitment,” and maintain a consistent process to translate the results into practice.
Cooperation with universities
Many voestalpine Group companies offer internships for college and university students. Among other things, particular emphasis is placed on scientific papers prepared by students in collaboration with voestalpine companies. Currently, a total of about 200 diploma and masters theses as well as dissertations are being written in cooperation with the Group.
For several years now, voestalpine has offered students from Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, a ten-week internship at the Group. In exchange, students of Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Austria, are offered a scholarship to attend Emory University.
In another special educational program, students enrolled in the international “ACT – Austria, Canada, Taiwan’’ training course— a joint program of Johannes Kepler University; University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; and National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan—are integrated into project work lasting several weeks at the Group’s Linz location in Austria.
Numerous educational collaboration projects are carried out with the University of Mining and Metallurgy in Leoben, Austria. They range from sponsoring commitments to generate interest among young people to aim 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.