Group Management Report

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The Volkswagen Group is one of the world’s largest private employers. On December 31, 2021, we employed a total of 672,789 people, which includes the Chinese joint ventures. This figure represents a 1.5 % increase compared with the end of 2020. The ratio of Group employees in Germany to those abroad remained largely stable over the past year; at the end of 2021, 43.9 (44.4) % of the workforce worked in Germany.

Human resources strategy and principles of the human resources policy

The 2021 reporting period saw the Volkswagen Group adopt the new “Transform to Tech” human resources strategy that builds on the “Empower to transform” functional area strategy and takes up the objectives of the new Group strategy NEW AUTO and its People & Transformation base initiative.

With its new human resources strategy, the Volkswagen Group is also continuing with key approaches in its human resources policy. These include the pronounced stakeholder focus in corporate governance, comprehensive participation rights for employees, comprehensive training opportunities, the principle of long-term service through systematic employee retention and remuneration that is fair and transparent. Throughout the Group, we offer individual remuneration components for employees not covered by collective agreements that we continuously update to reflect new working realities and business models.

At the same time, the new human resources strategy is setting innovative trends. Employee experience is to be considered systematically, the teams strengthened as the most important units in the company’s organization, and modern forms of working, such as agile methods, are to be developed. However, our main aim is to improve the individual experience of employees in order to become more attractive as an employer and take the performance of our organization to the next level.

This is why “Transform to Tech” looks at employees and their needs throughout the entire work experience: “Me” (Me@Volkswagen), “My team” (Teams@Volkswagen), “All of us at Volkswagen” (All of us@Volkswagen) and “Volkswagen in society” (We@Volkswagen and the world around us) are the perspectives from which we address employees’ needs and expectations in a holistic manner. Together, these four dimensions make up the work experience, job satisfaction and, ultimately, the success of the work and the Group’s integration into society.

  • The first dimension, “Me@Volkswagen”, follows the principle that every employee should have the best possible conditions in which to do their job. Starting with availability of first-class work equipment and tools, this also entails avoidance of red tape and overly complex process steps and includes state-of-the-art workspaces, opportunities for 360° feedback, individual health coaching, and training opportunities tailored to the individual.
  • The “Teams@Volkswagen” dimension is pivotal to the Group’s success: high-performance teams in the Volkswagen Group are groups that trust each other, have a common goal and can rely on each other. Yet they also discuss matters critically and speak their minds.
  • “All of us@Volkswagen” describes the corporate culture dimension. The Volkswagen Group provides a strong culture, unique products, fair working conditions, safe work, good opportunities for participation and attractive development paths.
  • The fourth dimension is “We@Volkswagen and the world around us”. Without long-term social legitimacy at our locations and in our markets, we will not be able to carry forward our business model in times of accelerated changes in values – this applies from an economic, environmental and social perspective. Employees are representatives of the Volkswagen Group and communicate our values to society.

By extension, we are guided within the framework of our strategy by five overarching objectives:

  • The Volkswagen Group, including all of its brands and companies, aims to be an excellent employer worldwide.
  • Competent and dedicated employees strive for excellence in terms of innovation, added value and customer focus.
  • A forward-looking work organization ensures optimal working conditions in factories and offices.
  • An exemplary corporate culture creates an open work environment that is characterized by mutual trust and collaboration.
  • The Company’s human resources work is highly focused on employees, strives for operational excellence, and yields strategic value-added contributions.

Although our new human resources strategy “Transform to Tech” already came into effect in fall 2021, the key performance indicators for 2021 are reported in line with the predecessor strategy “Empower to Transform”. As part of the strategy, we compile and analyze the following performance indicators:

  • Internal employer attractiveness. This indicator is determined by asking respondents, as part of the Stimmungsbarometer (opinion survey), whether they perceive the respective company as an attractive employer. The opinion survey is conducted in the majority of our Group companies. The target for 2025 is 89.1 out of a possible total of 100 index points. A score of 86.8 index points was achieved in the reporting period, contrasting with 88.2 points in the previous year.
  • External employer attractiveness. The ability to recruit top talent is of decisive importance, particularly in view of the Company’s transformation into one of the world’s leading providers of sustainable mobility solutions and the associated development of new business fields. We use this strategic indicator once a year to check the positioning of the major passenger car-producing brands in the brand’s home country. Rankings in surveys conducted by the Universum Institute, in which we aim to achieve ambitious scores set individually for the Group brands featured, serve as the basis for this. In fiscal year 2021, the Porsche and ŠKODA brands fully met and partially exceeded the targets set for them. While SEAT partially achieved the targets, the Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Audi brands did not meet their targets.
  • Diversity index. Given the cultural diversity in our global markets and the growing economic momentum, success in a highly competitive marketplace requires an ever-wider range of experience, world views, solutions to problems and product ideas. The diversity of our workforce provides potential for innovation in this area, which we aim to make even better use of in future. As we establish a diversity management system across the Group, this strategic indicator is being used to show the trends in the proportion of women in management and the internationalization of top management as a percentage of the active workforce in the Group as a whole, excluding vocational trainees and employees in the passive phase of their partial retirement. In particular, it underpins the objective of the human resources strategy, which is aimed at contributing to an exemplary leadership and corporate culture. The figures for the proportion of women in management (management, senior management, top management including Group Board of Management members) and the internationalization of top management are placed equally weighted in an index and the figures for the year 2016 set to an index value of 100 in each case. The proportion of women in management amounted to 16.3 % in 2021 and was 1.2 percentage points up on the prior-year level. We aim to raise this figure to 20.2 % by 2025. Our goal is to increase the level of internationalization in top management, the uppermost of our three management tiers, to 25.0 % in 2025; in the past fiscal year this was 20.3 (18.7) %. The diversity index in fiscal year 2021 was 127 compared to 117 in the prior-year.

One strategic indicator has been defined for the financial services business:

External employer ranking. This involves taking part in the “Great Place to Work” external benchmarking, in general once every two years. The aim is to position ourselves as an attractive employer and derive appropriate measures to achieve a ranking among the top-20 employers by 2025, not just in Europe, but globally. For 2023, we plan to participate in the global ranking of “Great Place to Work”. In the European ranking, we achieved our targeted top 20 position in the reporting year. Volkswagen Financial Services AG was represented in other national and international best-employer rankings in 2021.

To master the challenges of the transformation, the Group and the employee representatives have signed agreements for the future that will position the Group’s individual brands more efficiently and also structure employee career prospects. Volkswagen AG’s roadmap for digital transformation is one example, as is the Audi brand’s Audi.Zukunft agreement.

We are also driving large-scale cultural change to achieve greater openness and transparency in line with our corporate strategy. The seven Volkswagen Group Essentials define the shared underlying values and the foundation for cultural change across all of the brands and companies:

  • We take on responsibility for the environment and society.
  • We are honest and speak up when something is wrong.
  • We break new ground.
  • We live diversity.
  • We are proud of the work we do.
  • We not me.
  • We keep our word.

Group-wide activities such as team dialog and the role model program are designed to encourage employees to analyze the Group Essentials and incorporate them into all work processes. In the role model program, managers from all brands strive to improve the corporate culture together with their staff.


in percent, as of December 31, 2021

Employees by market (pie chart)