Employee affairs

SGL Group has a total of 4,1931) employees at more than 30 facilities in Europe, Asia and America. Their dedication, competence and performance are critical factors for the company’s success. As a result, SGL aims to acquire the best talent for the company, and to specifically further develop its employees and enhance their loyalty to the company. In addition to the large number of opportunities for training and continuing professional development, SGL also employs a varied, fair and respectful working and management culture. The company offers all its employees the possibility to develop their full potential. This is set out in the Code of Conduct as well as the SGL Competency Model.

At SGL, the role of Human Resources is understood according to the so-called HR-Business Partner Model, that is to say as a strategic partner for the business units and an advisor for executives. HR activities span inclusion in strategic entrepreneurial decisions through to operational HR processes, which is reflected, in organizational terms, in the fact that there are HR Business Partners at various levels - globally for the business units, the central R&D department, and the Corporate Functions, and locally for the individual plants.

HR management with this structure is responsible for a large number of different tasks:

  • Managing IT-assisted HR processes such as hiring and personnel administration, including questions concerning labor law
  • Qualifying, coaching and training management and employees
  • Defining remuneration programs for senior management based on market standards and performance
  • Coordinating international employee assignments
  • HR-related reporting to the company’s management
  • Contact for the company’s management for questions of personnel planning and covering these requirements
  • Positioning the SGL Group as an attractive employer on the market
  • Efficiently managing the HR impact of change processes

1) This figure shows the number of employees with non-limited term employment contracts. The number of employees for 2017 including limited-term employees is 4,734.


HR reports regularly to the Board of Management. The Head of HR meets personally with the CEO once every two weeks. As a result, top management is very aware of HR issues.

SGL keeps a keen eye on potential HR risks. This also includes the strategic importance of recruiting resulting from the increasing dearth of specialists. This also applies to the Group’s efforts to increase employee loyalty serving to combat high employee fluctuation. The Group’s forward looking competency management also plays a key role. This identifies the competencies which will be required in future and promotes these. In addition, unforeseeable risks can also result from employees’ changing requirements and wishes. SGL uses an external advisor to record these for Germany. There is also a risk from adjustments to the remuneration system for middle and upper management, which is now geared more to performance.

Diversity and equal opportunities

The variety of its workforce constitutes a strategic advantage for SGL: The employees’ different competencies and perspectives reinforce the company’s ability to innovate, and enhance its position as an attractive employer. This variety helps SGL Group to beat the competition for highly qualified specialists. It also allows it to combat the challenges resulting from demographic change. SGL also allows a valuable knowledge transfer by exchanging its employees internationally. This can bring about new potential solutions and allow synergy potential.

SGL aims to establish a non-discriminatory work and management culture in which all employees contribute their personal and specialist expertise, and make sure they have equal opportunities for career success and fair pay - irrespective of their sex, age, origins, religion, sexual orientation or health issues. SGL’s Code of Conduct is a key pillar in its commitment to diversity and equal opportunities. In its Code of Conduct, the company backs a diverse and integrated working environment, characterized by trust, openness and respect. Disadvantages as a result of age, religion or origins will not be tolerated. “Valuing diversity” is also anchored in the SGL Competency Model as one of six components. The model includes vital, globally valid behavior requirements for middle and upper management. SGL always uses local collective agreement systems or similar systems for remuneration, which is why non-discriminatory remuneration can be assumed. In areas not covered by collective agreements, the recognized analytical job evaluation method according to Hay applied. SGL will take the new statutory requirements from the Entgelttransparenzgesetz (German Remuneration Transparency Act) into account in 2018.

In order to promote international exchange and knowledge transfer within the company, SGL deploys single employees to different locations worldwide. These international assignments are generally from one to five years. In 2017 the Group employed expatriates in China, Malaysia and Portugal.


Percentage of women



Total workforce



   thereof Europe



   thereof North America



   thereof Asia



Senior management



Middle management



Talent pool



Age structure



< 30 years



30 to 50 years



> 50 years






Total workforce



thereof Germany



   thereof rest of Europe



   thereof North America



   thereof Asia



Number of expatriates



Employability and development

In competition for the best talent top-quality for training and continuing professional development is of key importance. This type of offering not only helps to acquire junior staff and specifically further developing them. It is also the key to enhancing loyalty to the company for experienced employees and to keeping their knowledge in the company for its long-term success.

The SGL Group aims to maintain its employees employability and to promote their professional and private development. Consistent personnel development is a fixed part of the company’s philosophy. It reinforces the company’s competitive ability, taking over responsibility for its employees.

Vocational training has always played an important role at SGL Group. The company’s vocational training offering spans 13 technical, commercial and IT professions in Germany as well as six dual study programs. SGL takes current developments such as increasing digitalization into account. For example, today, technical apprentices learn how to use 3-D printers. In both Meitingen and Bonn in 2017 one apprentice in each case received an award as the best in his profession from the responsible chamber. In Meitingen a student was honored as being the best in her dual study program. The Bonn plant (SGL Carbon GmbH) received a certificate for the best training performance for the respective chamber.

In order to enthuse school pupils for technical professions, SGL has been a member of the Initiative Junge Forscherinnen und Forscher e.V. since 2010 as one of its founding members. The company supported this association to the tune of EUR 10,000 in 2017 and also provided a great deal of personnel support. For example, the Head of HR at the Meitingen site is in the advisory council of the association's board.

SGL offers its employees opportunities for their personal and professional development throughout their entire career. This includes training and continued professional development, expanding tasks and responsibilities within a specific position, as well as changes of position. The SGL Competency Model forms the basis for HR work in this regard. It is used in particular in the SGL Dialog. This is a uniform, global, IT-assisted performance management instrument for middle and upper management. The manager agrees objectives with the employee in regular talks, and provides feedback on their performance. In addition, as part of this framework, they both agree on concrete individual development activities such as training sessions, coaching or special tasks.

The company links in to the results of the SGL Dialog to allow specialists and managers to participate in the Corporate Training Framework. The training offering passes on knowledge for communication, employee management, project management, sales proficiency and self-management.

In its Leadership@Work program SGL specifically prepares leaders and experts for further-reaching management tasks. The program is the key element in SGL's internal management development activities. It is characterized by the systematic use of self-reflection and feedback - for example from the use of 360° feedback, based on the SGL Competency Model. In addition, this series is very close to the real challenges faced in management work. This is achieved using so-called action-learning elements, however in particular also by using mentors. These are select top managers at SGL which support the groups as co-trainers and coaches. More than 1000 employees have already participated since Leadership@Work was introduced in 2001.

The activities are supplemented with regular potential analyses. As part of the annual talent management process, SGL identifies and promotes talented staff. In so doing, the employees’ management potential is assessed. In the second instance, SGL also evaluates potential for a specialist career. If necessary, the HR managers also discuss concrete target positions with the respective managers and employees, and plan corresponding development purposes.

A framework concept for expert careers was developed in 2017, in particular for the target group of experts who do not aim for a traditional management career. The Board of Management has approved this and it will be implemented from 2018.


Apprenticeships and dual degree programs



Total apprentices



      - Site Meitingen



      - Site Bonn



      - Site Limburg



      - Site Willich



Number of professions for apprentices



Number of apprentices hired as employees in  Meitingen



Number of dual degree programs



Personnel development and talent management
(Key talents)



Number of participants in the qualification portfolio "Corporate Training Framework"



Number of participants in the management development program "Leadership@Work"



Ghost rate in the talent pool (percentage of talent with no job change for six years)



Talents who left the company



Attractiveness as an employer

It is becoming increasingly important for companies to be perceived as an attractive employer. This is due to factors including the lack of specialist staff. This is making it increasingly difficult to hire suitable employees. A wide variety of factors play a role in making an employer attractive. These include interesting opportunities for entering the company and careers, financial incentives, family-friendly working hours, as well as an appreciative leadership and corporate culture.

SGL has been using its own employer brand successfully since 2008. The company aims to retain its attractiveness as an employer, and to further expand on this. SGL plans to thus acquire experts and talent and to ensure long-term employee loyalty. This is one of the reasons why the Board of Management decided to perform a group-wide employee survey in 2017. This will be implemented for the first time in 2018 and is expected to be repeated every few years. It will show the progress that has been made in further developing the SGL culture.

A large number of additional activities and instruments also play a role in making SGL an attractive employer: from end to end personnel recruitment, reasonable remuneration, through to a personnel policy which allows employees to reconcile job and family.

SGL uses the slogan “Passion for Carbon” to position itself when looking for new employees - in job adverts, on its own careers page, at trade fairs and in brochures. As part of its university marketing, SGL specifically addresses universities and colleges and offers students various opportunities for entering the company - including internships, working as a student, and theses. The central Research & Development department “SGL Innovation” plays a key role in this regard. During the period under review, this department employed a total of 46 students from eight different countries, and around 28% of this figure were female. In addition, this department supported 16 bachelor and master’s theses in 2017.

In its recruiting work, since 2017 SGL has also been approaching potential applicants in social networks. The recruiting process is already mostly standardized in Germany, the USA and China thanks to IT support. The medium-term target is to standardize the process all over the world as far as this is possible considering the legal and cultural framework conditions in the individual countries.

In addition to recruitment a further key issue is that the remuneration system is structured so that this is performance-oriented and in line with the market, and consistently geared to the corporate strategy. In a top-down approach, over the past few years SGL initially adjusted the remuneration of its Board of Management, followed by its executives, and finally middle-tier specialists and managers. Local pension regulations were also changed. SGL Group offers its employees in Germany a company pension scheme as a voluntary component. This offers additional financial protection for the duration of their pension. These changes have been accompanied by various communication activities, which made them transparent.

In order to allow employees to better combine their careers and private lives, the overall works agreement “Alternating Teleworking” was passed for Germany in 2017. In future, this agreement will allow employees to work from home for up to 40% of their working hours. SGL tested flexible teleworking in Meitingen, Bonn and Wiesbaden in 2015 and 2016 with positive results. This is an additional activity to remain competitive in an international environment, reinforcing its attractiveness as an employer.

In particularly challenging professional or private situations, SGL employees in Germany can also benefit from external advice. The “Employee Assistance Program” (EAP) offers free, and if requested anonymous help with issues such as caring for dependents, childcare, finances, careers and health, 24/7. Employees can use this service in person, by phone or online. This offering was relaunched in 2017. It also includes newly designed information leaflets and posters at all of the German locations. A works meeting was held at the largest plant in Meitingen with a talk on EAP.

With regard to company healthcare management, employees in Germany can use a large number of offerings decentrally, i.e., at an individual plant level. In Meitingen there were, for example, training sessions for managers on how to reduce periods of absence, or preventing addictions in 2017. Employees were able to benefit from sports offerings such as spinal fitness or fasciae training, and attend training on stopping smoking. Employees can eat healthily in the canteen. In addition this facility hosted a blood donation during the period under review.


Number of staff



Number of employees



Number of new hires (worldwide) 1)



   - thereof men



   - thereof women



Fluctuation rate (worldwide) 2)



   - Europe



   - North America



   - Asia



1)   Exclusively includes “real” new hires for employees with non-limited term contracts, i.e., not taking over temporary employees or removing limited terms on employment contracts.

2)   Based on the average headcount, includes employees leaving the company voluntarily and involuntarily. The figures for 2016 include discontinued operations.


Part-time employment and reconciliation of work and family



Percentage of part-time employees in Germany 1)



Male part-time employees (Germany)



Female part-time employees (Germany)



Number of employees who used the advice service (EAP) 2) 



1)  The percentages of part-time employees for 2016 include discontinued operations

2)  The usage rates for both fiscal years include discontinued operations.


Group Compliance