Although we don’t use quotas to force this issue, we nevertheless implement a wide range of measures that underpin our aspiration for corporate leadership based on social principles. As a signatory of the Diversity Charter, we are committed to systematically embedding our deep understanding of employee diversity. One way we accomplish this is with our annual “Day of Action.”
As in the past few years, we are continuing to pay close attention to the needs of different age groups/generations. Our employees also come from many different countries of origin and some have had to flee their home countries. We are particularly concerned with making it easier for people with different cultural backgrounds and life experiences to work together productively and in harmony. Last but not least, it is and always has been an essential concern of ours to see members of the different genders in their individual strengths and needs and to treat them fairly.
Because of our social beliefs and values, but also in view of the foreseeable shortage of skilled labor, it is natural for us to choose our employees regardless of aspects such as age, gender, sexual orientation, skin color or nationality. Vacancies at VAUDE are advertised and filled in accordance with the General Equal Treatment Act. If we see an opportunity for new hires to enrich teams in terms of increased diversity, we may let that factor into selection decisions.
»It is important to us to look at people holistically in the selection process, instead of being guided by preconceived ideas.«
When it comes to hiring, we are very deliberate about making use of different perspectives from the people involved. In addition to human resources and the direct manager of the position to be filled, other people are often involved, such as future team coworkers. Especially when filling management positions, it is important to us that employees who will answer directly to the new hire have a chance to become acquainted with the applicants and can include their assessments in the evaluation process. Support from the people that a new manager will directly work with is an important success factor for effective collaboration.
As family-friendly company, VAUDE specifically supports women on maternity leave so that they can quickly return to work. This explicitly includes women in management positions. With this in mind, we have defined a clear process that makes it possible for women in particular to do some of their work from home. As a company, we strive to stay in contact with our employees and to strengthen their solidarity with VAUDE. See also Balancing professional and private life is important to us. See also Balancing professional and private life is important to us.
After parental leave, VAUDE takes a hard look at how working conditions can be modified to accommodate the interests of returning parents. We encourage women to return to full time work after their parental leave. Nevertheless, many parents choose to return to work part-time. As a result, our overall proportion of part-time employees is relatively high, as it was in 2022 at 41 %. (2021: 39 %).
Especially at VAUDE's executive level (divisional management) and at the second management level (departmental management), we are adhering to our medium-term goal of increasing the proportion of women from the current 33 %. At the third management level (team leaders) women and men are equally represented at 50% each.
We are pleased to have a low turnover rate that we would like to maintain. For this reason, we can only make substantial changes in the ratio of women in management over the long term.
This nevertheless leaves room for salary differences, such as those based on each person's professional experience and performance. We publish the functional levels and compensation ranges on our intranet to increase the transparency of our wage structures.
In addition, our salary system defines an internal minimum wage for permanent employees that is above Germany’s statutory minimum wage.
The ratio between the highest salary and the lowest salary at VAUDE (excluding interns, trainees and people in marginal employment positions) remained stable in 2022 (as it has for the past years) at 1 to <10). With this figure, we are meeting the benchmark for ethical salary models specified by the Economy for the Common Good.
In addition to their salary, VAUDE offers all employees a range of benefits and additional services, such as e-bike rental, free sports courses as part of the company's health management program, discounted employee prices for VAUDE products, and the opportunity to lease a bicycle through VAUDE with "Jobrad".
When assessing the salaries of new employees as well as adjusting the salaries of existing employees, the human resources department and management pay close attention to fairness and non-discrimination, including comparisons between employees in similar positions. Salary differences arise from and can be explained by the qualifications, performance and professional experience of the employees concerned.
We regularly review wage distribution and counteract any emerging imbalances as part of our personnel budget process. It goes without saying that our employees can participate in the Wage Transparency Act and receive information from human resources on how their own wages are classified in relation to their peer group.
Salary differences between men and women were presented in a 2019 analysis of all salaries at VAUDE by an external consulting firm. Measurements took into account base salary plus variable salary components and non-cash benefits such as company cars etc.; women's salaries were shown to be on average 4.83 % lower than the average salary of male employees. We attribute a large part of this effect to the fact that young women make up a significant proportion of our workforce, and we observe a slightly higher fluctuation within this group during the first few years of their careers. We fill the positions of women more frequently, not only due to employees starting families. Newly hired employees generally initially receive lower compensation than their older colleagues, Unfortunately, due to limited technical support options, we haven’t been in a position to conduct an in-depth analysis of our salary structure with regard to the distribution between men and women every year.
From baby boomers to Generation Z – up to four generations work together at VAUDE. The key to benefitting from this diversity is empathy for different approaches and needs as well as the flexible solutions within the company.
Our average age in 2022 was 41.2 years. 19 % of our employees are under 30 years old, 50 % are between 30 and 50, and 31 % are over 50. It is important to us to offer good working conditions for all age groups and to promote harmony and innovative cooperation between them.
In addition to temporarily putting a career on hold to start a family, our employees are increasingly interested in partial retirement and individual transitional solutions at the end of their careers. For this reason, we adopted a company agreement in 2019 regarding individual Time Value Accounts for retirement planning.
With a Time Value Account, VAUDE and the employee agree that his/her future salary will not be paid out in full, but rather VAUDE will record the amount saved each month and use that to extend the employee’s wages after s/he has stopped working. This makes it possible to plan a long-term break from work during which the employee continues to receive his or her (previously saved) salary.
»We want to do our part as a company and help refugees and migrants. We can provide valuable resources and expertise – especially when it comes to integration into the labor market. If we work together to help this group improve their prospects, the economy can benefit enormously in the long term.«
To help implement a welcoming culture and active integration of refugees into the labor market, we have founded an entrepreneurial initiative for the right of refugees to keep their jobs and stay in training programs. Read more
After the first years of increased immigration around 2015 due to the Syrian civil war, we carried out complex programs for job-seeking refugees and, due to the newness of the issues as well as the formal and legal frameworks required, we invested enormous effort into their recruitment and management. Working with our refugee employees has now become more routine. Nevertheless, we still sometimes have to invest a great deal of energy and company resources in dealing with individual concerns regarding an employee’s right to remain in Germany, economic and personal and/or family situations.
Due to the war in Ukraine since the beginning of 2022, we are continuing to place a high focus on the needs of people who have fled their home country – whether as a potential employer or to otherwise assist in crisis management.
We will continue to pay close attention to the needs of people with disabilities. For example, we will continuously review in which departments people with disabilities can be deployed and which tasks are particularly suitable for them. This also includes defining adapted processes for filling positions that enable inclusion.
We are convinced that a workforce distinguished by diversity, in which everyone is respected and accepted, encourages innovation and creativity. As a European outdoor company in a dynamic and competitive market, innovation and creativity are particularly important in order to differentiate ourselves as a brand. We serve a diverse, international target group across a wide age range. Diversity in our workforce is a major advantage in meeting the wide variety of needs of this group.
»I believe that a diverse workforce is more capable of promoting creativity and, above all, innovation than one that is largely homogeneous.«
As a company, our goal is to avoid barriers to motivation. We would rather create the ideal conditions for our employees to be intrinsically motivated and to develop their best performance. In a climate that encourages and respects diversity and equal opportunity, this can be very successful.
We also understand the active and intensive development of our culture of trust to be a means that supports us along this path. A foundation of trust.