Search Report
2020 Sustainability Report
published 2021/08/02

Diversity in a wonderful world

We firmly believe that companies and their customers benefit significantly from diversity in the workforce and we work hard to promote diversity at VAUDE. People with a wide variety of backgrounds and strengths should be able to maximize their development potential here.

We foster diversity at VAUDE:

  • High attention is given to fair consideration of diversity factors in hiring processes and salary determination.
  • Gender equality is a high corporate value and strategic factor.
  • “Time Value Accounts” increase flexibility for work and life planning.
  • We actively support employees who are foreigners or refugees.
  • Our team is international: around 13 % of our employees are of non-German nationalities.
  • Annual Diversity “Day of Action” at VAUDE on Germany’s Diversity Day 

We value all perspectives and talents

A diverse blend of employees and equal opportunities for all is something that is close to our hearts – and, in our opinion, should be self-evident. Our values clearly state what we are committed to: "Making (y)our world a better place." With this in mind, it is our aspiration to give fair consideration to our employees, above all with regard to age, gender, sexual orientation, physical abilities, ethnicity, religion and ideology, but also in terms of marital status and personal preferences.

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 throughout our entire workforce. One way we accomplish this is with our annual “Day of Action.”

As in previous years, our focus in 2020 was on equality between men and women. We also continued to pay close attention to the needs of different employee age groups/generations. Our employees 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.

Filling positions with diversity in mind

Because of our social beliefs and values, but also in light of the foreseeable shortage of skilled labor, it is natural for us to choose our employees without taking aspects such as age, gender, sexual orientation, skin color or nationality into regard. Vacancies at VAUDE are advertised and filled in accordance with the General Equal Treatment Act.

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.

»t is important to us to look at people holistically in the selection process, instead of being guided by preconceived ideas.«

Christiane Schudy, Personnel & Organization

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.

Good opportunities for lateral hires

As a company oriented toward sustainability and social activism, we don’t just look for résumés with a straight forward career path and technical specialization. On the contrary, we also value the individual’s private and professional experience, a confident personality, a good cultural fit, and ecological and civic commitment. With this in mind, we also offer many attractive employment opportunities to lateral hires who bring with them the appropriate personal and methodological skills.

Support for women's careers

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 2020 at 40 %.

45 percent of management are women

Furthermore, it is important to us to achieve a balanced distribution of male and female managers. We are convinced that a corporate culture based on partnership and innovation also thrives on the fact that the composition of our decision-makers also reflects society at large. With Antje von Dewitz, we have a woman as our company’s managing director. In 2020, 23 of 51 managers were female, which corresponds to a ratio of 45 %.
Strong women flying high

Especially at VAUDE's executive level, we are adhering to our medium-term goal of increasing the proportion of women from the current 33 %. At 26 %, the greatest need for development remains in our second management level. On the other hand, the proportion of women at the third management level has once again risen – 62 % of our team leaders are women.

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.


Number of male and female employees in management committees or by employee category**:

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* There are currently no registered non-binary gender persons at VAUDE.
** Our Managing Director is also Head of Marketing & Communications.

Transparent and fair wages for everyone

The VAUDE Payroll System is a consistent and transparent foundation for the fair remuneration of our employees – regardless of gender or other person-specific characteristics. To create the system, all positions in the company were evaluated and given points and then divided into different functional levels. Compensation ranges were defined for each of these functional levels. The aim of the VAUDE payroll system is to pay comparable wages for activities with comparable requirements.

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 in 2020 was 9.29. Interns, trainees and people in marginal employment positions are excluded from our calculation. With this figure, we are meeting the benchmark for ethical salary models specified by the Economy for the Common Good (maximum 1:10).

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".

Equal pay for women and men

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, for whom the proportion of men is somewhat higher. Due to limited technical support options, we are unfortunately not in a position to conduct an in-depth analysis of our salary structure with regard to the distribution between men and women every year.

Cross-generational collaboration

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 2020 was 40.2 years. 26 % of our employees are under 30 years of age, 47 % are between 31 and 49, and 28 % are 50 years or older. It is important to us to offer good working conditions for all age groups and to promote harmony and innovative cooperation between them.

More opportunities for meeting different needs using Time Value Accounts

We are pleased to have employees from different demographic groups in the VAUDE family. We naturally want as many of them as possible to be able to balance their planning for their personal lives with their professional biographies.

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.

Commitment to and cooperation with refugees

We have been deeply moved by the armed conflicts around the world and the plight of refugees and migrants. We, both employees and the management, have therefore come together and decided to take our responsibility as a company seriously and actively promote the integration of these groups. With countless activities and a high level of energy, we have worked hard in recent years to help refugees who have come to us as applicants, employees or project and cooperation partners. We have had to overcome some major hurdles and setbacks, but we can look back on many successes that we are proud of. At the end of 2020, for example, we employed fifteen refugees us on a permanent basis, most of them in our Manufactory, which is five more than at the end of 2019.

»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.«

Dr. Antje of Dewitz, Managing Director

Our activism is founded on the assumption that authorities and policies ensure the framework conditions to support companies in implementing a welcoming culture and active integration into the labor market. That is why we are committed to this issue on a political level and have founded an entrepreneur initiative for the right of migrants to keep their jobs and stay in training programs. Read more

During the first few years of the refugee crisis 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.

In order to make it easier for people from different cultures to understand our norms of cooperation at VAUDE, rules for everyday work and how to deal with colleagues are communicated using a guide that contains the most important points. These include, for example, topics such as sick leave, vacation entitlement and working hours.

Supporting people with disabilities

As part of our company's alignment to social values, it is an important goal to provide people with disabilities with fair opportunities and support for employment. In the reporting period, we employed nine employees with severe disability status – five male and four female – which corresponds to 1.56 % (2019: 0.90%).

With our holistic approach to diversity and equal opportunities, 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.

Diversity increases innovative strength and employee satisfaction

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.«

Dr. Antje of Dewitz, Managing Director

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.

GRI:   301-1
Explanation of the material topic and its Boundary
GRI:   301-2
The management approach and its components
GRI:   405-1
Diversity of governance bodies and employees
GRI:   405-2
Ratio of basic salary and remuneration of women to men
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