Being an attractive employer

Fresenius’ growth and success are largely thanks to the commitment of our more than 290,000 employees worldwide.

With our “Welcome to Fresenius” events we say “Hello!” to our new employees and give them an opportunity for networking.

Their achievements, skills, and dedication help our business segments to hold leading positions in their respective markets. We want to continue attracting, retaining, and developing talent at Fresenius. That is why we offer employees a wide range of development opportunities. Furthermore, we promote international and interdisciplinary cooperation as well as diversity in our business segments and regions. The importance we attach to employee matters is also reflected in our corporate structure: the member of the Group Management Board responsible for Legal, Compliance, and Labor Relations has central responsibility for all employee concerns.

Reporting on personnel matters covers the following key topics: personnel structure and diversity, employee participation, profit sharing, attracting, retaining, and developing talent, as well as occupational health and safety. The business models of our four segments set different standards for the management of material topics at an operational level. In the following section, we therefore report on Group-wide as well as segment-specific personnel concepts and measures.

Personnel structure and diversity

At the end of fiscal year 2019, the Fresenius Group had 294,134 employees. That was 17,384 or 6% more than in the previous year (December 31, 2018: 276,750). Based on FTE (full-time equivalents), the increase was 7% in the Fresenius Group.

The regional picture shows that 31% of our employees are based in Germany, while the rest of Europe accounts for 25%. 26% of our staff were employed in North America at the end of 2019.

Our employee structure by function remained largely unchanged in 2019: Around 14% of our employees work in production, while 71% are in services. The high share of service personnel is mainly due to the number of nurses in our health care facilities.

The proportion of female employees in the Fresenius Group was 68% as at December 31, 2019 (December 31, 2018: 68%). The proportion of females in services or care is higher than in the area of production. This is reflected in the proportion of female employees in our business segments on page 124. The number of female participants in the Group-wide Long Term Incentive Plan (LTIP 2018) is a good indication for the share of women in management positions worldwide. According to this, the ratio of women among the 1,500 top executives was 31.6% as at December 31, 2019.

The average age 1 of Group employees was 41.0 years (2018: 41.0 years). The majority (55%) of our employees are between 30 and 50 years of age. We aim to maintain a well-balanced age structure within our Group. The distribution reflects the demand for a high proportion of skilled and experienced employees in our business segments.

The length of service 1 within the Group can vary due to acquisitions in the business segments. In 2019, it was 8.1 years on average (2018: 8.2 years).

In 2019, the voluntary turnover rate 1 was 11.0% (2018: 9.8%), due to various reasons. At Fresenius Medical Care, we encounter increased rates especially in emerging countries due to the economic growth there, for example. At Fresenius Helios, the competition for talent in the hospital setting has led to various activities to attract new personnel. We also intensified the dialogue at Helios with our employees to decrease the voluntary turnover rate. Further information is included on the Non-financial Report.

The rate of new hires 1 in relation to the overall number of employees in each business segment provides proof of our efforts.

1 Fresenius Medical Care’s data 2017 reflects country data representing 96% of all employees. Prior-year information, and 2018 Group data respectively, were adjusted to conform to the current year’s presentation to reflect coverage of 100%. Helios Germany’s data for 2016 and 2017 includes the post-acute care business in Germany. Fresenius Vamed’s data for 2017 also includes temporary staff and, as of 2018, the German post-acute care business transferred from Fresenius Helios to Fresenius Vamed.

Here we provide an overview of key figures relating to the personnel structure and diversity in the different business segments.

Fresenius respects and promotes a culture of diversity. We are convinced that the combination of different perspectives, opinions, cultural backgrounds, and experiences enables us to tap the potential that makes us successful as a global company. The knowledge and social skills of our employees and their different ethnic, social, and religious backgrounds help us to develop a particular sensitivity for the local needs of our customers and patients. The foundation for this company culture characterized by collaboration and mutual respect is the Fresenius Code of Conduct, which is binding for all Fresenius employees.

For further information on our diversity concept for the Management Board and the Supervisory Board, please see our Corporate Governance Declaration and Report.

Attracting talent, retaining and developing employees

The ongoing globalization of our markets is a challenge for our human resources management. For this reason, the four business segments gear their employee development concepts individually to specific market requirements and cultural differences. In doing so, we focus on three topics:

  • Attracting talent: To ensure that we meet our demand for highly qualified employees and attract new employees, we rely on digital personnel marketing, organize our own recruiting events, and present the company at careers fairs. In recent years, we have significantly broadened our personnel marketing activities and expanded our global career website. In 2019, the market research institute Potentialpark named Fresenius the German company with the best online offering for applicants for the eighth consecutive year.
  • Retaining employees: As an international health care Group, we create various incentives for employees, depending on the country and location. These include flexible working time models or the chance to participate in the company’s success via variable renumeration models.
  • Developing employees: We offer our employees the opportunity to develop their career in an international, dynamic environment. We are continuously adjusting our personnel management instruments to the latest trends and requirements. As well as Group-wide obligatory training courses on our Code of Conduct, the business segments offer compulsory training, e.g., in quality management, environmental management, or occupational health and safety. Individual training courses for employees and executives, as well as talent management geared to the respective business segments, complete our personnel development activities. Depending on their customer and market structures, our business segments pursue different concepts and measures for personnel development.

Exchange with employee representatives

Trust and cooperation between management, employees, and employee representatives is well-established at Fresenius and is an integral part of our corporate culture. An open and continuous dialogue between management and employee representatives, as well as unions, is important to us.

Fresenius acts responsibly towards its employees. This includes the commitment to comply with international labor and social standards, which are contained in our Code of Conduct and in the Human Rights Statement. For more information, see “Caring for human rights“.

Employees liaise with their supervisors, but they can also turn to their human resources or compliance officers, as well as to the works council, their union representatives, or other employee representatives. In Europe, about 77% of our employees are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. In some European countries, Fresenius is subject to industry-related collective agreements, e.g., in France, which are binding by law due to the industry to which we belong. If this
is not the case, country-specific collective bargaining agreements can be negotiated with local trade unions or comparable social partners.

In European countries, workplace representation bodies are organized according to national law. The business segments are mainly responsible for dealing with local employee representatives and trade unions at country or site level.
Our discussions with these representatives focus on local and regional circumstances. Together with the employee representatives, we aim to find tailored solutions for thechallenges in the different locations.

In addition, Fresenius aims to maintain an open and ongoing exchange with globally active trade union associations such as UNI Global Union, Public Services International, and IndustriAll Global Union.

Occupational health and safety

We consider ensuring the health and safety of our employees to be part of our corporate responsibility. The Fresenius Code of Conduct stipulates that work-related incidents must be prevented. All business segments focus on preventive measures and on the individual responsibility of employees when it comes to occupational health and safety. The occupational safety concepts are adapted to the business models of the four business segments and cover occupational health and safety in production as well as corporate health management for employees in health care facilities and in administration. They are not only aimed at protecting our employees, but also ensuring the well-being and safety of our patients.

All Fresenius business segments continuously record data on occupational health and safety in line with regulatory provisions. Provided that this data are consolidated, it is published in the following sections on the business segments.

For more information about the occupational health and safety see the Non-financial Report.