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At Fresenius, we promote international and interdisciplinary cooperation as well as diversity and inclusion throughout the Group. The diversity of our markets and locations is also reflected in our workforce. In Germany, we have employees of more than 140 nationalities. We attach great importance to equal opportunities for all employees in the workplace as well as in the application, selection, and development procedures. In order to integrate equal opportunities into all processes and workflows and to overcome barriers or unconscious bias, the business segments develop diversity concepts that are adapted to the requirements of their respective business models and regions. With this approach, we want to provide a framework that enables our employees to integrate into a workplace that supports them in pursuing their individual professional ambitions.

Our goals and ambitions

The Group Management Board welcomes the efforts within the business segments to further expand and make greater use of activities for more diversity and inclusion in future. It is our ambition to continuously develop our corporate culture and attract, promote, and retain talent. Different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives can lead to better decision-making and outcomes and drive progress on all levels of an organization. In the business segments, we want to improve diversity management, e. g., with diversity training for employees and management. As part of the corporate culture, measures to strengthen diversity management are being developed and implemented. The promotion of women in management positions is also an important concern for us. We are developing new measures to this end.

By setting diversity targets and reporting on them transparently, we aim to drive forward diversity in our leadership positions. A clear goal also directs the focus to areas where action is needed. This enables us to implement effective diversity-related measures.

Diversity and equal opportunities goals

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  Timeframe Status 2023 Further information
Implementation of our diversity concept for the Group Management Board and Supervisory Board Ongoing Goal achieved Diversity among employees and in governance bodies
Diversity targets for the first and second management levels below the Management Board Until 2025 Ongoing;

status 2023:
Diversity among employees and in governance bodies
30% share of women at the first management level    30.0%  
30% share of women at the second management level 24.1%

Our approach

At Fresenius, we support equal opportunities for all and consciously oppose discrimination of all kinds. No one may be discriminated against on the basis of skin color, ancestry, faith, political views, age, gender, ethnicity, nationality, cultural background, sexual orientation, physical condition, social background, appearance, or other personal characteristics. This extends equally to employees, business partners, and patients. Our dealings with each other are characterized by mutual respect: open, fair, and appreciative.

We do not tolerate insults, humiliation, or harassment in our daily work, neither internally nor externally. Our managers have a special responsibility in this respect and act as role models. These values and our aspirations with regard to diversity are laid down in the Fresenius Code of Conduct, which is binding for all employees. This lays the foundation of our cooperation and corporate culture. Further information on our approach to equal opportunities is provided in the Human rights section, and on our diversity concept for the Group Management Board and the Supervisory Board in the Corporate Governance Declaration. Information about fair compensation can be found in the Employees chapter.

In 2023, the Group Management Board signed the German “Charta der Vielfalt” (Diversity Charter) for Fresenius. The healthcare Group is thus taking a strong stance for diversity and inclusion in its own company. The aim of the initiative is to advance the recognition, appreciation, and inclusion of diversity in the working world in Germany.

Organization and responsibilities

The Group Management Board member responsible for Legal, Compliance, Risk Management, ESG, Human Resources and the business segment Fresenius Vamed (subsequently ESG Board member) assumes responsibility for steering strategic Group-wide projects regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of the business segments are responsible for operational management. The management boards of the business segments define the management approaches and regulate responsibility for DEI topics, e. g., via a business allocation plan. In the Fresenius Group Human Resources (HR) Steering Committee, the HR managers or responsible functions of the business segments and of the Group function Corporate HR Management also align on HR topics, approve group-wide projects and initiatives and exchange information on diversity-related issues on a monthly basis. The ESG Board member participates in the meetings. As part of risk reporting, the Management Board of the Fresenius Group is informed quarterly. The effectiveness of DEI measures is discussed, if risks were identified or incidents occurred that could have a material adverse effect on the operating business, reputation, or the value chain of the Group and its business segments. The Audit Committee of the Supervisory Board is also informed of developments on a half-year basis, the Supervisory Board on an annual basis. Further information can be found in the Opportunities and Risk Report and in the Group Non-financial Report in the Compliance section.

In order to be able to address existing and potential challenges in connection with diversity and equal opportunities on a context-specific basis, responsibilities at regional level have been defined. Either the HR functions, diversity and gender representatives, or, e. g., the medical director, are responsible for the implementation of approaches and country-specific regulations are. In the Corporate / Other segment, the Group function Corporate HR Management is responsible for topics related to DEI. Experts in various divisions develop training courses, communication material, and programs in discussion with other Group functions.

At Group level, data on diversity and inclusion is collected as needed, but at least annually, and communicated to internal stakeholders, e. g., employee representatives or the respective representatives of the severely disabled. In addition, the business segments have supplementary reporting processes, e. g., on a monthly or quarterly basis, to identify deviations from internal targets or objectives. If deviations occur, the responsible persons initiate a root cause analysis, evaluate the results, and, if necessary, implement corrective or preventive measures.

A key component of reporting is communication on the intranet and social media. These communication formats provide the Group Management Board with the opportunity to draw specific attention to initiatives in the area of DEI and to strengthen employee awareness of these issues. It is particularly important to include affected employee groups in this communication and to show them that we take their interests into account.

In addition, we also want to address potential new employees with our initiatives. For example, Fresenius Vamed’s German sites are reaching out specifically to people with disabilities and chronic illnesses through the MyAbility job board with an employer profile.

Reporting systems and dealing with incidents of discrimination

Information about violations of the principles of the Fresenius Code of Conduct and other possible misconduct can be reported via various notification systems, e. g., online and in various languages – anonymously, if necessary, as described in the Compliance section.

In addition, employees have the option of confiding in an ombudsperson in the event of conflicts or misconduct. At Helios Spain, incidents involving sexual and gender-based harassment can be recorded via a dedicated complaint protocol.

Within the Group, incidents involving discrimination are processed via the responsible function and, depending on the severity of the incident, escalated, e. g., to regional or central level. All information is carefully examined, and appropriate action taken in accordance with the results of the investigation. Sanctions such as actions under employment, civil, or criminal law can be imposed. After finishing the investigation, measures that prevent future misconduct, or at least make it more difficult, are implemented.

In 2023, 274 reports related to HR / workplace, including incidents of discrimination or sexual harassment were reported across the Group. The reports were documented, investigated, and evaluated in accordance with the applicable compliance regulations. We also take reports that are not substantiated by the investigation as an opportunity to review existing structures and, if necessary, adjust measures as a precaution. In 2023, this was not the case.

No violations of internal policies on diversity and equal rights were reported whose impacts would have been material for the financial position or reputation of the company. Further information on opportunities and risks can be found in the Opportunities and Risk Report and in the Compliance section.

Guidelines and regulations

At Group level, the business segments are subject to the requirements arising from internal guidelines, e. g., the Code of Conduct, or external requirements, e. g., collective agreements. Collective agreements and works agreements also stipulate that all employees covered by these agreements are entitled to defined benefits. Due to varying local legislation, these internal guidelines are important frameworks for enabling a tolerant and appreciative working environment. In this way, we ensure that local law is taken into account. In addition, as part of our business activities, we make sure that people can work for us or are supplied with our products without fear of discrimination.

In addition, all locations are subject to respective local regulations – in Germany, for example, the General Equal Treatment Act (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz), the Remuneration Transparency Act (Entgelttransparenzgesetz), and the Works Constitution Act (Betriebsverfassungsgesetz).Compliance with these regulations is ensured at local level.

In some locations, we are required by national law to establish equality plans to promote equal opportunities and wage transparency between men and women, and also guarantee non-discrimination in the workplace. In 2023, more than 70% of Helios Spain’s employees were covered by equality plans.

Diversity among employees and in governance bodies

In the reporting year, the proportion of female employees in the Fresenius Group was 68%. The proportion of females in services or care is traditionally higher than in the area of production. This is reflected in the proportion of female employees in our business segments: our business segment Fresenius Helios has the highest proportion of female employees within the Group, with around 75%.

Gender by business segment

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  2023 2022
  Female Male Other1 Undisclosed Female Male Other1 Undisclosed
Fresenius Kabi 22,450 20,810 9 0 21,489 20,574 0 0
Fresenius Helios 96,837 32,599 3 0 94,236 31,464 0 0
Fresenius Vamed 12,668 7,597 0 0 12,645 7,539 0 0
Corporate / Other 422 470 0 0 425 504 0 0
Group 132,377 61,476 12 0 128,795 60,081 0 0
1 First structured survey of the Other category for the 2023 fiscal year.

We want to support employees in all phases of life and especially promote the compatibility of family and career – in the spirit of equity. That is why we offer them a variety of options for flexible working. The country- and location-specific offer depends on the applicable collective agreements and – if available – equality plans. Further information on flexible working models can be found in the Employees chapter.

At the end of the reporting year, the majority of our employees were employed in Europe. We illustrate the diversity of our employees based on nationalities. We do not collect employee data split by ethnicity. Following data is based on about 70%1 of global employees. Our employees come from more than 150 different nations. Around 57% of them have German citizenship, followed by Spanish citizenship (2023: 27%) and Colombian citizenship (2023: 6%).

Five most frequent nationalities1

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Employees (Headcount) 2023 2022
German 80,369 79,905
Spanish 37,629 36,605
Colombian 8,191 7,489
Peruvian 1,474 1,451
Turkish 980 959

1 Excluding employees from Fresenius Kabi and Fresenius Vamed outside of Germany as well as few international administrative offices.

Fresenius aims to increase diversity on the Group Management Board and the Supervisory Board of Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA in terms of age, gender, education, professional background, and international experience. To achieve this, the diversity concept for the Group Management Board and Supervisory Board defines criteria to be implemented when nominating candidates. In addition, in the Corporate Governance Declaration of the Annual Report, we list the individual skills and competencies of the members of the Supervisory Board in a qualification and competency matrix, which also includes the implementation of the diversity concept. The diversity concept and its current application can be found in the Corporate Governance Declaration in the Annual Report 2023 as well.

Diversity in the Supervisory Board

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  2023 2022 2021
Nationalities 3 3 3
Number of women 4 5 5
Average age 61.6 60.7 60.7
Average term of office in years 5.8 5.3 6.0

Diversity in the Group Management Board

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  2023 2022 2021
Nationalities 2 3 5
Number of women 1 2 1
Average age 51.6 53.2 57.1
Average term of office in years 0.6 5.2 7.9

In addition, the Fresenius Group has developed diversity goals for the first and second management levels below the Group Management Board at the segment Corporate / Other in accordance with legal requirements: by 2025, the proportion of women there should be over 30%. In 2023, the proportion of women at the first management level was 30.0%, at the second management level 24.1%.

To further determine the proportion of women in management positions in the Fresenius Group, we evaluate the participants in the Group-wide variable compensation program (Long-Term Incentive Plan 2023 – LTIP). The LTIP is primarily aimed at management positions no more than two levels below the Executive Board.

Share of women in management positions

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  2023 2022
Managers 501 522
Share of women in management positions, in % 27 28

Employees with disabilities

The Fresenius Group also employs people with impairments, some of which are severe disabilities – such as people in wheelchairs or with mental disabilities, as well as those who survived cancer or, e. g., live with diabetes, rheumatism, or depression. Fresenius is committed to the inclusion of these people. We want to enable our employees to apply their knowledge and skills as fully as possible. In doing so, the respective local legal requirements must be implemented. As these differ significantly in some cases, management is decentralized and local.

In Germany, elections for representatives of the severely disabled are held every four years at Fresenius facilities where at least five severely disabled persons are employed on a more than temporary basis. All members of the company can stand for election to this office. We also have corresponding committees in our clinics in Spain.

Helios Germany concluded an overall inclusion agreement with the division’s representative body for persons with severe disabilities. It strengthens the participation of (severely) disabled people and employees at risk of disability and promotes equal opportunities. Furthermore, it aims to prevent employees with (severe) disabilities from being discriminated against or socially excluded. In addition, two online training courses on the topics of severe disability law and the Corporate Inclusivity Agreement are available to senior executives of Fresenius Helios in Germany and Fresenius Vamed via the training catalog of the management academy. In 2023, around of 1,200 people completed one of these training courses.

Helios Spain has dedicated recruiting, training, and inclusion protocols for disabled people. The segment thus complies with the legal requirement in Spain to employ at least 2% of people with disabilities relative to the total workforce. Exceptions are possible and must be explained by the companies concerned before being accepted by the competent authority. In addition, Helios Spain has signed an agreement from the representative foundation Fundación DKV Integralia to promote diversity in the division.

Employees with disabilities

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  2023 2022 2021
Germany 4,668 4,614 5,051
Share of employees, in % 5.1 5.0 5.1
Europe without Germany1 749 600 480
Share of employees, in % 1.5 1.2 1.2
Total Europe 5,417 5,214 5,531
Share of employees, in % 3.8 3.7 4.0
1 Until 2021, hospitals of Helios Spain; without Fresenius Kabi.

Diversity lived in the working environment

At Fresenius, the international and interdisciplinary work environment leads to intercultural teams coming together to drive improvements in patient care, optimize internal processes, and convince potential applicants of our corporate culture. An international and intercultural composition of teams – especially in our corporate functions – can facilitate cooperation. In many central functions, for example, there are employees who are responsible for different regions and are expected to provide the best possible support across different segments internationally.

In order to sustainably promote tolerance and appreciation within these teams in the long term, it is not only necessary to have a corresponding culture that is exemplified by the management bodies; employees are also taught through training and continuing education programs. For example, in 2023, Fresenius Vamed implemented a course on intercultural cooperation at the Austrian sites as part of the leadership program and conducted DEI training on generation management in some areas. In addition, an online training course on anti-discrimination has been available in the business segment since November 2023. The employees of Helios Germany were also able to take advantage of an online learning program on diversity in 2023.

Our aim is to increase employees’ awareness of diversity and equal opportunities. Showing appreciation for all people and offering equal opportunities is at the core of diversity and inclusion. However, current research shows that we make our decisions largely unconsciously. This can be helpful in some situations. But it is also possible that we overlook or misjudge something as a result. This is because people are influenced by cognitive bias, known as unconscious bias, when making decisions. This can lead to person-related decisions – such as performance appraisals – being disadvantageous for individual employees. To raise awareness of this, we offer online training on the topic of unconscious bias for employees and especially for managers in the Corporate / Other segment. Unconscious bias training was also carried out in individual areas of Fresenius Vamed. This gives our employees the opportunity to learn how to question decisions and recognize unconscious thought patterns, stereotypes, and prejudices.

Employee networks

Within the Fresenius Group, various employee groups have been formed, such es employee impact groups or employee resource groups (ERGs) in the North America region. The Women’s Initiative is committed to networking, mentoring, and supporting of women. The initiative was established in 2022, initially with a focus on Europe, and now has members worldwide, e. g., in Australia, Taiwan, and the United States. These networks are central for the DEI strategy and support the Group’s aspiration to develop a work environment in which diversity and appreciation go hand in hand. This aim is also reflected in the Diversity Charter.

At Fresenius Kabi in the United States, there are currently five Employee Impact Groups (EIGs): Voices of African Descent, Women’s Voice, Pride, Alliance of Asians and Pacific Islanders, and іHOLA! (Hispanic / Latin employees). Detailed information can be found on the Fresenius Kabi website.

In 2023, the segment Corporate / Other, Fresenius Digital Technology, and Fresenius Kabi again conducted a joint learning program on Leadership for Women – Boost your Self-Positioning. The 114 female participants were able to strengthen their self-positioning using various topic modules and network across divisions by means of peer group coaching.

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Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA
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