Growth in the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s workforce 2015–2019

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has always been conscious of its responsibilities toward its employees, and continues to develop its image as an attractive employer. Key topics include staff training, incentives, equal opportunities, and employee health and safety.

At year-end 2019, Fraunhofer had 27,988 employees, 19,936 of whom were research, technical or administrative staff (RTA staff), 7517 students, and 535 trainees. That corresponds to a year-over-year increase of 5.0 percent or 1340 employees in 2019. In absolute terms, this was a higher rate of increase than in 2018, but slightly lower in relative terms (2018: 5.2 percent). Fraunhofer’s human resources policy is based on the missionoriented approach of knowledge transfer, in which a career with Fraunhofer prepares scientists for future roles in industry or business, unless they choose to remain in research. Emphasis is given to personalized career planning. Career paths at Fraunhofer are defined in terms of skillsets, which are in turn allocated to outline training and development plans.

To assist HR staff in the institutes with the task of supporting employees with their career development, these staff receive specialized training and have access to a growing range of tools and other resources. In 2019, we replaced the traditional staff reviews with more comprehensive career development reviews. This shifted the focus away from career paths based exclusively on academic qualifications. This move was accompanied by the introduction of a wider range of e-learning options to complement face-to-face training. Another change was that trainees and dual students are now included in the career development process. HR staff are being trained to conduct assessment interviews with this group of people, and tools and resources have been designed that are adapted to the specific circumstances of trainees and dual students.

The established professional development programs were continued in 2019, with targeted improvements. After a positive evaluation, the TALENTA program for female scientists and managers has been expanded to include a specifically tailored mentoring program. The Young Research Class initiative, in which junior scientists collaborate on a yearly selected range of research topics, has been placed on a longer-term footing by organizing the first alumni meeting of previous participants.

The Advanced Management Class initiative, which was launched in 2018 and addresses tier-2 and tier-3 managers, was continued in 2019. Its positive evaluation has encouraged Fraunhofer to establish this program as a permanent fixture.