• Employee satisfaction is a new material topic
  • Diversity is very important at Evonik
  • Multiple accolades as an attractive employer
  • Ten years of the Well@Work health initiative
  • Greater integration of sustainability into core HR processes (Next Generation Culture)
Strategy and management

The recruitment, development, and long-term retention of talented employees with first-class qualifications are vital for our lasting success. Good human resources work is therefore particularly important for the evolution of Evonik. The central focus is translating our strong appeal as an employer into high employee engagement. Our HR strategy provides the framework for our daily HR work, in close alignment with the requirements of our operating businesses and corporate functions. Increasingly, their requirements involve an in-depth understanding of the economic, ecological, and social aspects of sustainability, including corresponding management knowledge. That affects all levels of the HR process—from recruiting talented, mission-critical personnel through their individual development to actively shaping the transformation by providing motivated leadership and performance- and results-oriented remuneration models.

Our global HR organization comprises the HR Talent Management and HR Business Management functions, both of which have global management tasks and work closely together. Our HR processes are supported by digital services, learning offerings, and a global knowledge database for executives and employees.

HR Talent Management bundles activities relating to attracting, developing, retaining, and leading employees. HR Business Management coordinates the regional employer function, all performance-related aspects, digital HR applications and system solutions, interaction with representatives of the workforce, and aspects of employment law.

Attractiveness as an employer

Strategy and management

Responsible action enhances Evonik’s attractiveness as an employer. Alongside performance-oriented remuneration and additional benefits that include providing a motivational working environment focused on health and occupational safety, individual development opportunities, diversity, and work-life balance. Evonik employees are its most important advocates: They give the company a distinctive face and play a key role in developing an authentic employer brand with people at its heart. External rankings, internal surveys, and early employee turnover are important indicators of our attractiveness as an employer.

Talent management
We regularly assess and evaluate potential, succession scenarios, and development requirements at HR meetings attended by the executive board. Attractive career paths, job rotation, and high-quality development programs are essential to develop tomorrow’s top executives. Topics such as sustainability, entrepreneurial and individual responsibility, and a focus on geopolitical developments play a central role.

Onboarding new employees
The welcome and introduction received by new employees are key experiences at the start of a new employment relationship. Personal contact between employees, line managers, and new colleagues plays a key role in this. The introduction of the digital system solution Workday actively supports this process. Dashboards and checklists provide useful guidance for our managers. New employees benefit from target group-specific training videos and initial virtual contact with regional executives and subject specialists. All of this helps to make them feel welcome at Evonik from day one.

Culture initiative
The world of work is undergoing profound changes—from digitalization and new ways of working to the responsible use of natural and social resources. During such periods of upheaval, thriving corporate values can make a valuable contribution by providing guidance and stability. We support this through our ONE Culture initiative, which invites all employees to play an active part in shaping and driving forward our corporate culture. This has been a source of many improvements, including in some areas of our operational HR work.

Our aim for the coming years is to integrate sustainability requirements at all levels of the HR process— from personnel planning, including analyzing the additional capabilities, skills and management qualities needed, through corresponding upskilling offerings for employees to greater inclusion of sustainability indicators in remuneration systems. The first steps were taken in the second half of 2022 as part of our Next Generation Culture. The first step comprised an inventory of present and future sustainability requirements in different occupations and greatly extended the information, training, and workshops available on this topic. We also paved the way to integrate sustainability into the long-term remuneration of the executive board and other executives in the future.

Addressing the shortage of skilled workers
The intensifying shortage of skilled workers requires us to step up our activities to retain and develop our employees and recruit qualified new employees while they are training or studying. In Germany, our employer branding has therefore started a nationwide campaign to fill vacancies by increasing our online presence and addressing specific target groups.

We also benefit from our long-standing alliances with universities and student networks. Moreover, the Evonik Perspectives retention program for interns helps to build and strengthen contact with students. Alongside established recruitment methods, Evonik increasingly offers on-the-job training and is involved in cooperative projects with other companies in the regional labor market.

Our progress in 2022

The global labor market remains dynamic: A high willingness to change employers, a shortage of skilled workers, and the increasing flexibilization of working conditions are changing the demands made on Employer Branding. The focus us shifting to recruitment marketing, positive personal experiences of the world of work, and employee satisfaction. We have therefore redesigned the global career page on our website and integrated job opportunities worldwide. An improved search function enhances the ability to find content and information on vacancies. Together with the operating units and sites, we have introduced separate themed content for occupations where competition is high. Here, we specifically target engineers, IT experts, chemical operators, power plant operators, and firefighters. A campaign in printed and digital media aligned to the differing regional priorities of our German sites has raised our visibility as an employer and made it easier to fill vacancies quickly. At the same time, we are stepping up our recruiting activities through our established partnerships with student networks. These include, in particular, UNITECH—a network of leading international universities, global companies, and engineering students—and FEMTEC, which focuses on fostering young female employees and talents in STEM professions (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and IT). To support our growth strategy in North America, especially in the Health Care business line, we work closely with eight universities.

Worldwide, committed employees act as brand advocates for Evonik to give potential employees a feel for the company. That includes a presence on key career sites and in social media, as well as live events. In November 2022, an Evonik employee was named by LinkedIn News DACH as a “top voice” in the area of sustainability for the first time. LinkedIn awards this accolade to German-speaking members who share their expertise and whose contributions initiate valuable discussions.

Employee satisfaction

Strategy and management

The satisfaction of our employees is the basis for Evonik’s long-term success. Alongside competitive remuneration and attractive development opportunities, our employees benefit from a wide range of offerings to improve their work-life balance as well as preventive health care. The aim is to maintain productivity at a high level and minimize employee turnover. We use a regular group-wide employee survey and annual interim surveys to measure employee satisfaction. From these, we derive specific continuous improvement activities.

In our opinion, the focus on employee satisfaction will become even more important as a result of the dynamic nature of the labor markets. Satisfied employees value their employer, contribute to a positive working atmosphere, and are less likely to change employer. For prospective employees, customers, and colleagues, motivated and committed employees are our most important advocates.

Employee survey

In our sixth employee survey in November 2021, around 33,000 employees around the world were asked to assess their working conditions. A total of 84 percent of all employees took part. The employee survey provides an insight into how organizational changes and the implementation of our corporate values—performance, openness, trust, and speed—are perceived throughout the Evonik Group. The commitment index, which is calculated from six of the 56 survey items, was 73 percent (for comparison, in 2018 it was 68 percent). Key questions focused on general satisfaction, whether employees would recommend the company as an employer, and behavioral factors such as pride, confidence, motivation, and commitment. The results are available at team level and are made available to managers via a dashboard. In the communication and follow-up process, we identified more than 2,500 suggestions for specific improvements.

Attractive remuneration

Attractive, market- and performance-oriented remuneration is anchored in our human resources tools worldwide. The principles we use to structure remuneration, including fringe benefits, are set out in group-wide policies. Remuneration is set on the basis of objective criteria such as responsibility, competencies, and success. In addition, minimum standards defined by law and in collective agreements, such as the local minimum wage, are applied. Personal attributes such as gender, age, etc., play no part in the process, and our policies explicitly forbid discrimination.

Gender pay gap

Since the introduction of our new HR system at the end of 2021, we have been able to report global remuneration date using a uniform standard. For the ten countries where we have the most employees, we analyzed the gender pay gap—defined as the difference between the average base salary of female employees relative to their male colleagues. This showed that a weighted average pay gap of just under 1 percent. In other words, on average, women earn more than men. These ten countries represent about 90 percent of our workforce. There are plans to extend gender reporting via a cockpit so that specific analyses can also be made available to local and regional management teams at smaller entities.

Evonik offers voluntary social benefits in all regions where it has a presence. These are available to more than 99 percent of our employees. Close to 100 percent of our employees have statutory or company pension insurance and health insurance. As a rule, part-time employees benefit from our performance- and profit-oriented incentive systems and our voluntary social benefits, provided that the meet the minimum working hours prescribed in some regions.

Work-life balance

A family-friendly HR policy that is geared to different phases in people’s lives is important to Evonik. More than 95 percent of our employees around the world have access to related initiatives. At the heart of this approach are flexible worktime models, support for people caring for close relatives, and assistance with childcare. The PAIRfect initiative offers a job-sharing platform to help our employees structure their worktime more flexibly by bringing them together colleagues who want to share a job.


Alongside work-life balance, the focal areas of our in-house Well@Work initiative are exercise, nutrition, and mental fitness. A wide range of offerings at our sites, supplemented by group-wide digital programs, foster the physical and mental health of our employees. In 2022, this initiative celebrated its tenth anniversary with cross-site anniversary offerings. The formats were very popular and attracted around 1,000 registrations.


#SmartWork is our approach to hybrid working, comprising a balanced mixture of presence in the workplace and mobile working. This project started in April 2022 and was helped by the fact that there were already related policies in various regions. They define when and to what extent a job is suitable for flexible working, along with the technical equipment required. In Germany, agreements had already been signed by employer and employee representatives. In agreement with their manager, employees in Germany can work remotely for up to 50 percent of their worktime. More than 11,000 employees worldwide have now registered for #SmartWork.

Worktime models

The regular, contractually defined working hours for more than 74 percent of our employees are based on collective agreements. We limit employees’ working hours to 48 hours a week unless shorter working hours are applicable. Nearly 79 percent of our employees benefit from annual vacation rules that exceed the statutory provisions in their country. Since there is no statutory ruling in the USA, the situation there is based on regional customs.

In Germany, all 19,870 employees, including our 14,657 male employees, have a statutory right to parental leave. A total of 763 employees used this right in 2022. Male employees accounted for around 50 percent. In 2022, they took an average of 1.8 months parental leave, while female employees took an average of 6.6 months. In the reporting period, 562 employees returned to work after parental leave. Here, men accounted for just under 65 percent.

Some employees ask about the possibility of taking paid or unpaid leave for an extended period, for example, to enhance the compatibility of private and professional phases in their lives. However, interest is low. In percentage terms, it is in the low single-digit range based on our total headcount.

Diversity and equal opportunity

Strategy and management

As an international company with a presence in wide-ranging markets, we see diversity as an opportunity. Diversity is not simply a social or political obligation. We see it as a key to business success. Employees with different backgrounds and personalities enrich our teams and our company. We do not tolerate discrimination. Diversity enhances Evonik's creativity, innovative capability, and proximity to customers. It also has a positive influence on the recruitment of new employees and on staff retention. We actively raise awareness of this issue through our corporate media and regular dialogue formats. In 2022, we asked employees worldwide to nominate their “diversity hero.” In this way, attention was drawn to around 60 people whose commitment shapes diversity within and beyond Evonik.

Our diversity strategy is derived from our corporate strategy. Diversity is a firm element in our corporate values, working principles, and, since 2020, the Evonik competency model. The parameters we use to manage diversity often exceed the legal requirements. The executive board receives quarterly information on the development of important diversity indicators. We inform all employees about the present situation in an annual diversity report.

The role of the diversity council is to embed diversity in our organization and to drive it forward through cross-business criteria. It comprises the members of the executive board, the heads of the divisions, and representatives of the regions and corporate functions. In keeping with our corporate value of openness, the diversity council’s meeting was streamed live for all employees for the first time in the reporting period. The meeting focused on unconscious bias, which is one of the biggest barriers to greater diversity. Learning sessions were offered in the regions ahead of the meeting to raise awareness of this important topic. The open diversity council meeting was accompanied by a wide range of internal measures such as asking employees to describe a personal diversity moment. Global implementation of the measures adopted by the diversity council is supported by three diversity panels for processes, regions, and communication. In the spirit of diversity, integrating inclusion issues is important. In 2022, we held our first disability BarCamp, where around 80 participants discussed aspects of disability and inclusion at Evonik.

All measures to ensure diversity take a holistic approach: We address the issue from strategic, cultural, and process perspectives. Our executives are required to actively manage diversity with the aid of specific indicators relating to experience, age, training, nationality, and gender. We also take into account different mentalities and perspectives arising, for example, from religious conviction and sexual orientation.

Vocational training and continuing professional development

Well-trained employees are a key success factor in competition. Our learning strategy and personnel development programs focus on future business needs. Our activities in this area cover both vocational training of young people at the start of their working lives and continuing professional development of our employees. We have a global learning strategy, which we developed together with our employees. Considerable progress with this was made in 2021. The central elements of our learning strategy are:

  • Uniform global solutions for training and personnel development, with digital self-directed learning content
  • Simplifying the offering of digital learning platforms
  • Increasing the acceptance of self-directed digital learning and lifelong learning

Our employees have access to a wide range of learning journeys and digital content for self-directed learning. A global development portal guides users through the wide range of continuing development options. Our FutureZone learning platform administers the participation of employees in mandatory training and e-learning sessions and notifies them of the need to complete them. We measure our success in implementing our learning strategy by the number of active participants, their average learning time, and the total number of people registered to use LILY. Both platforms are available to all employees worldwide, provided they have access to the intranet.

Since we have more than 1,000 apprentices as well as a strategy to secure skilled employees, we consider that we are well-prepared for the challenges of demographic change, including production and related areas. To retain young people in the company, all apprentices who are able and willing to take up employment are offered jobs. In addition, we are training around 460 apprentices in cooperation with other companies.

Our progress in 2022

In 2022, Evonik trained more than 1,500 young people. This figure includes 20 training places funded by RAG-Stiftung and Evonik Industries AG as an additional entry point to vocational training for young people who were exposed to additional uncertainty as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Our offering covered 22 recognized vocational training courses and combined vocational training and study programs at 16 sites.

Apprentices accounted for 5.3 percent of our workforce in Germany, which is still well above the national average of around 5 percent in both the chemical industry and the industrial sector. Overall, we invested around €61 million in vocational training in 2022. Our high commitment is also reflected in good examination results, although the pass rate dropped to 97 percent as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The “Start in den Beruf” pre-apprenticeship program has proven very effective preparation for youngsters who are not yet ready for a vocational training course. In the 2021/2022 project year, we offered an additional 30 places in this program, bringing the total to 80. This complementary offering gives young people an insight into the dual training system and the occupations available to help them make a career choice. In Marl (Germany), this pre-apprenticeship program for disadvantaged youngsters celebrated its twentieth anniversary.

Through our involvement with BBNE, a sustainable development education forum, we successfully trialed various project weeks to introduce sustainability into dual training courses in 2022. At interactive workshops, instructors and apprentices reflected on established mindsets and routines and developed competencies that can shape sustainability in company workplaces and learning spaces as well as in private life.

Our areas of action
at a glance

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