Demographic Change

WACKER has been addressing demographic change intensively since 2006. The average age of (permanent) employees was 42.2 on the 2008 reporting date. In-house studies have shown that the number of employees over 50 in Germany will double between 2006 and 2017 – from 22 to 44%.

Average Age (bar chart)

At a time of demographic change, it is becoming increasingly important for WACKER to acquire and retain highly qualified employees. We have therefore formulated ten strategic goals to accommodate an aging workforce. We intend to:

  1. Systematically promote health.
  2. Create corporate value by appreciating all age groups; introduce sweeping changes in our approach to aging; and involve managers and employees.
  3. Encourage and demand vocational training and job flexibility across all age groups.
  4. Secure expertise for the future, and transfer knowledge in a systematic and binding manner.
  5. Develop instruments to manage and regulate the transition to retirement.
  6. Orientate compensation to levels of performance and expertise.
  7. Maintain and enhance WACKER’s attractiveness for employees.
  8. Intensify advertising and recruitment efforts aimed at professions critical to WACKER’s success.
  9. Pursue forward-looking strategies for in-house vocational training.
  10. Foster scientific and technological interest early on as a committed “corporate citizen.”

To achieve these goals, we have introduced measures to enhance job flexibility – ranging from employee health programs through to basic and advanced training. Here are a few examples from the period under review:

  • E-Recruitment project: in general, job seekers can submit their application forms via the WACKER website. We have developed a new system that covers the entire recruitment and employment process – from the in-house job request to hiring and relocating. We have also switched over to an online application service for trainees. Young applicants prefer this online approach, and it also simplifies the whole process for us. Now, applicants can simply use their profiles to apply for a second or third training position, as well. WACKER’s E-Recruitment platform offers new functions for selectively contacting registered candidates (Talent Relationship Management) or searching for specific qualifications from among a pool of candidates.

  • Implementing Germany’s Collective Agreement on Working-Life Duration and Demography: this agreement was concluded in April 2008 by the chemical employer association and IG BCE industrial union. By adhering to a so-called “chemical-industry formula on demographic change,” companies – including WACKER – committed to establishing work processes that take age and health into consideration. Additional features include: training courses during an employee’s entire working life, (private) pension provision, and various tools to ensure smooth transitions between training, work and retirement. Starting in 2010, another aspect will be a “demographic fund.” Employers will pay €300 into it annually per standard-payscale employee. This “demographic sum” rises in line with the percentage increase agreed for the standard payscale in the preceding year. The sum must be spent appropriately on, for example, long-term working-time accounts, semi-retirement, standard pension plans, partial pensions and the German chemical industry’s “BUZ” disability insurance.

  • New personnel-marketing approaches: WACKER is blazing a trail here with a project to inform aspiring engineers about career opportunities at WACKER. Called “PIng,” the project focuses on intensifying our contacts with universities – for example, by holding project-planning courses on campus, arranging site tours for students, and offering them diverse opportunities for internships and for preparing degree theses. 2008 saw the launch of an annual summer course for process/chemical engineering students. The course provides insights into an engineer’s duties and typical work routine at WACKER.