Human Resources

      As of March 31, 2022 (the close of the business year 2021/22), the voestalpine Group had 46,938 employees excluding apprentices and leased personnel. Compared with March 31, 2021, this corresponds to a reduction in the workforce by 890 employees or 1.9%. When 1,369 apprentices and 3,386 leased employees are included, the total full-time equivalent (FTE) rises to 50,225 person years, a year-over-year increase by 3.2% (+1,571 FTE). A total of 55.1% of the Group’s employees (27,667 FTE) work at Group locations outside of Austria, and 44.9% (22,558 FTE) work in Austrian voestalpine companies. As of the close of the reporting period, the Group had 1,369 apprentices. Of these, 62.9% were being trained at facilities in Austria and 37.1% at facilities abroad. Overall, the number of apprentices rose year over year by 60 individuals or 4.6%.

      Employee shareholding scheme

      voestalpine has had an employee shareholding scheme since 2001, which has been continually expanded since then. Besides the company’s workforce 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 voting rights associated with stock issued to employees are combined in the voestalpine Mitarbeiterbeteiligung Privatstiftung (employee foundation for the Group’s employee shareholding scheme), making this entity a stable, key shareholder of voestalpine AG. As of March 31, 2022, a total of about 24,500 employees have a stake in voestalpine AG. They hold about 25.4 million shares which, due to the general bundling of voting rights, represent 14.2% of the company’s share capital (previous year: 14.1%). In addition, former and active employees of voestalpine hold approximately 1.0 million “private shares” of voestalpine AG via the foundation, which equates to 0.6% of the voting shares. The foundation exercises the voting rights of these shares, too, as long as the given employees do not exercise their right to freely dispose of the shares. On the whole, therefore, as of March 31, 2022, the voting rights of 14.8% of the share capital of voestalpine AG are pooled in the foundation.

      The stahlstiftung

      The Stahlstiftung (Steel Foundation) was founded in Linz, Austria, in 1987. Its aim was to provide employees of the VOEST-ALPINE Group (as it was called at the time), who had to leave the company due to a crisis, as well as employees of companies outside of the Group with opportunities for reorienting themselves professionally. Up to four years of training and continuing professional development were funded for this purpose. In the business year 2021/22, 80.0% of the participants looking for work were able to develop a new professional perspective with the help of the Stahlstiftung. The fact that this number was about 4% higher than in the business year 2020/21 reflects the recovery of the labor market throughout the reporting period. As of the March 31, 2022, reporting date, Stahlstiftung assisted 370 individuals, 73.0% of whom were former employees of the voestalpine Group. Overall there were 694 active Stahlstiftung participants in the business year 2021/22, i.e., 21.8% less than in the previous year (888 individuals). The activities of 63 individuals related to an educational leave were also supported during the reporting period over and above the participants covered by the Stahlstiftung in its capacity as a classic employee fund.

      Apprentices & young skilled workers

      Due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual voestalpine Group Apprentice Day had to take place digitally yet again. This event enables apprentices to network Group-wide and helps them to perceive their own workplace in the context of the entire Group. Apprentices thus met on October 5, 2021, for a hybrid event. The Management Board as well as select representatives of the Linz (Austria) facility spoke via livestream from voestalpine Stahlwelt to approxi­mately 500 apprentices and their trainers from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. Individuals at locations outside of these three countries connected with trainers and apprentices interactively and provided insights into apprenticeship activities and environmental management at their respective facilities. The apprentices learned during the “voestalpine goes green” contest how deeply the concept of sustainability has already taken root in the Group: Both professional and environmental commitment and engagement were honored here. The festive award presentation during the digital Group Apprentice Day shed yet more light on the importance that future professionals attach to the environmental perspective.

      voestalpine remains committed to its goal to offer young people solid training and continuing professional development (CPD). Approximately 500 trainee slots will be available at the start of the training program in the Northern fall of 2022. The company invests about EUR 90,000 per apprentice in the comprehensive three or four-year training program. In order to efficiently approach suitable applicants, in recent years voestalpine has continually expanded its social media activities on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. A new apprenticeship website ( went live on September 2, 2021, just in time for the start of the training year. Through this web-based platform, voestalpine is setting new benchmarks for the range of digital information being made available to future skilled personnel. Designed as an app that can be read on mobile devices, it offers features similar to those available on social media such as a bookmark function and thus is in line with young people’s media habits. voestalpine’s apprentices themselves provided a lot of valuable ideas for the website’s design.

      New communications approaches and channels replaced conventional trade shows and open houses—in some cases, even face-to-face interviews that could not be held as usual on account of COVID-19. The new avenues include a digital open house, digital corporate presentations in schools, and/or participation in digital trade shows. When recruiting, the company continually evaluates together with the applicant whether it is feasible in the light of the current, local COVID-19 situation to meet for face-to-face interviews.

      The European vocational competition known as EuroSkills was held in Graz from September 22 to 26, 2021; this was the first time it took place in Austria. Through its participation as a “gold partner,” voestalpine demonstrated yet again that it is fully committed to fostering the advancement of tomorrow’s skilled workforce. In addition to the contestant—Alex Mayrhofer (of voestalpine Stahl GmbH, Linz, Austria)—the company was represented at EuroSkills by a robot arm that its apprentices themselves had built as well as by three voestalpine trade show booths that featured so-called Try-a-Skill stations and about 50 committed apprentices and trainers.

      voestalpine’s representatives also made a lasting impression at other national and international competitions. At the Austrian Skills 2021 occupational championships, two young skilled workers—Philipp Bruckner and Lukas Frühwirth (also of voestalpine Stahl GmbH)—won gold and silver, respectively, in the Electrical Systems (Industrial Control) category. This qualifies them for the WorldSkills 2022 in Shanghai, China, and the EuroSkills 2023 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Sebastian Bruggraber from Kapfenberg, Austria, also did very well at the Austrian Skills 2021: He won third place in the Welding Technology category.

      The Group’s excellent numbers with respect to completed apprenticeships create a solid base of skilled workers for the future: Fully 85.9% of all apprentices in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland who took the final apprenticeship exam in the business year 2021/22 passed it. Of the Austrian graduates, 60.7% even did so with good or excellent grades.

      Development of executives

      Owing to the worldwide pandemic, the business year 2021/22 was characterized yet again by governmental restrictions (e.g., travel bans) and/or internal approaches to safety and security. Nonetheless, the Group’s tried and tested “value:program”—a Group-wide executive development program—took place in part in a face-to-face format, with only a few digital modules. In the future, too, the training and CPD programs tailored to target groups at all executive levels will once again be organized in a way that combines face-to-face and online courses that are supplemented by external programs for postgraduates and business school students. Given the program’s specific requirements and its success in its current form, there are no plans to convert the entire program into a purely online format. What makes it so valuable over and above the comprehensive skills training imparted by international top experts is the intensive collaboration on the part of individual members of voestalpine’s leadership team. They engage in their capacity as speakers, project managers, or sparring partners, so to speak, in wide-ranging exchanges of experience. This mixture of external and internal know-how along with the Group’s commitment to ensuring that employees possess advanced qualifications make the voestalpine leadership program a central component of the Group’s claim to being “one step ahead.” Every year and under normal circumstances, just under 200 international employees participate in the multi-stage program. In the business year 2021/22, however, only 131 employees from 14 countries completed or started it.

      Other employee development programs

      In order to foster and boost relevant employee capabilities and skills in a manner that is both functional and regional, the voestalpine Group offers a number of additional programs such as the “Purchasing Power Academy”; the “HR Academy”; the “Early Career Program” in North America; and the “Young Professional Training Program” (YPTP) in China. Many of these programs did not take place at all during the reporting period due to the pandemic or—where possible and meaningful—only via new, digital formats. The positive experiences gained through this type of blended learning (i.e., combinations of face-to-face and online training) will enable us to take the next steps in the direction of digital delivery of executive training programs. The “High Mobility Pool” (HMP) program aimed at developing talent at the Group level had to be suspended yet again in the business year 2021/22, because it was still not possible to carry out international recruiting. Individual divisions and business units offered their extensive employee training and CPD programs only to a very limited degree as well.

      Employee survey

      The most recent employee survey took place in the fall of 2019. Subsequently, the Group companies were called upon to analyze the findings together with their employees, to develop suitable action plans on that basis as well as to report the two most important measures and their respective degree of implementation to the Group. The final reporting as to these measures ended as of March 30, 2022. It showed that fully 90% of the planned actions had already been completed or are still being implemented. More than 80% of the measures implemented achieved the targeted objective. The next voestalpine employee survey is scheduled for the Northern fall of 2022. It will be conducted in 239 Group companies in 47 countries, and the findings will be made available in 26 different languages. Kincentric, an external partner, will once again carry out the survey. The questionnaire consisting of 16 questions and three statistical disclosures will remain largely unchanged in order to ensure comparability with the previous survey. The findings will be available at the end of November 2022 and will be provided to the Group companies so that they can restart the process of reviewing, aggregating, and analyzing them.

      Cooperation with educational institutions

      Many voestalpine companies offer students the option of enrolling in internships. Among other things, this is focused on scientific work in cooperation with voestalpine companies. Currently, numerous diploma and masters theses as well as dissertations are being written in collaboration with the Group. voestalpine uses innovative formats tailored to different target groups to introduce itself to potential personnel, for example, in connection with numerous training programs that it carries out in cooperation with the University of Mining and Metallurgy in Leoben, Austria. These range from sponsoring commitments aimed at kindling young people’s interest in technical degrees, to the so-called #voestalpinetalks (a collaborative event with all student representatives), all the way to support for the annual “teconomy” student trade show. Because the so-called #voestalpinetalks could not be held yet again in the business year 2021/22 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, voestalpine and the University of Mining and Metallurgy along with the representatives of the degree programs organized a t-shirt design contest. The best participants were awarded prizes, and the winning t-shirts were produced and distributed among the students.

      Measures related to the COVID-19 Pandemic

      Given the COVID-19 pandemic, voestalpine along with its employees had to operate in crisis mode worldwide also during the business year 2021/22.

      Depending on infection rates, national requirements, and operational parameters, large numbers of employees continued to work from home. Individual solutions for employees with dependent children were also put in place in this connection. But critical infrastructure workers continued to work on site. voestalpine put in place comprehensive hygiene measures for them and made face masks and disinfection materials available to them at no charge. Shift changes were reorganized to ensure that requirements regarding minimum distances between people could be fulfilled. Both meal offerings and cafeteria operations were adapted to applicable requirements as well. Numerous Group companies also offer COVID-19 testing options, from self-tests to antigen and PCR tests, at facilities that provide occupational medical services. In order to raise the vaccination rate across the board, voestalpine contributed its own vaccination campaigns that were carried out by its own medical personnel and supported national public interest campaigns aimed at boosting people’s willingness to be vaccinated.

      Due to differences in local environments as well as different statutory and governmental requirements, it is not possible to harmonize all measures across all of the Group’s facilities. However, a Coronavirus Task Force that was established at Group headquarters back in February 2020 continued its work in close coordination with the Chairman of the Management Board and in cooperation with all divisional task forces. The Group’s wide-ranging COVID-19 measures are continually evaluated and adapted to the given situation. For example, aside from self-protection steps, minimum physical distancing requirements, the wearing of face masks or coverings, and preventive hygiene measures (e.g., handwashing and disinfecting), they also include pointers as to the right conduct in case of suspected infection, avoidance of business trips to the extent possible, proper dealings with customers and suppliers, and broad-based communication measures across the entre Group.

      These were extraordinary challenges that voestalpine had to master anew and repeatedly in the business year 2021/22 as well. That this succeeded is largely thanks to the commitment and flexi­bility of the company’s entire workforce.

      Full-time equivalent (FTE)
      A full-time employee corresponds to a full-time equivalent of one, part-time employees are taken into account on a pro-rata basis corresponding to their working hours.