Search Report
2019 Sustainability Report
published 2020/08/01

Diversity in a world that's worth living in

Companies benefit significantly from diversity in the workforce. We are convinced of this and promote diversity at VAUDE. People with different backgrounds and strengths should be able to develop their potential with us in the best possible way.

We have worked hard on diversity at VAUDE:

  • Participation in German Diversity Day with a VAUDE event 
  • Making work and life planning more flexible through the introduction of time value accounts
  • High attention to fair consideration of diversity factors in hiring processes and salary determination
  • Gender equality as a high corporate value and strategic factor
  • Commitment to employees who are foreigners or refugees

Want to know what's behind it?

We value all perspectives and talents

A colorful mixture 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 stand for: "Making (y)our world a better place." With this in mind, it is our aspiration to giver 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.

To date, this understanding has not been captured with the use of performance indicators, but we are enacting a variety of measures to underpin our commitment to social corporate leadership. As a signee of the Charta für Vielfalt we are specifically committed to anchoring a deep understanding of the valuable diversity of colleagues throughout our workforce with measures such as an annual “Day of Action.”

As in previous years, our focus in 2019 was on equality between men and women. In addition, we have paid even greater attention to the needs of different age groups / generational difference of our employees. Our high level of commitment continued to be to seen in our Employees and applicants with a refugee background.

Diversity boosts innovation 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.

We have also taken these findings into account in the development of our interactive idea management system "Steps". All employees can participate actively and in exchange with others, from the development of an idea to its implementation. See -Time spent at work is time spent living

»I believe that a diverse workforce is more capable of promoting creativity and, above all, innovation than one that is largely homogeneous.«

Antje von Dewitz, CEO

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.

Diversity in filling positions

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.

»It is important to us to perceive people holistically in the selection process, instead of being guided by certain patterns.«

Christiane Schudy, referent human resources

We also make conscious use of the different perspectives of the people involved in selection decisions. In addition to human resources and the direct manager of the position to be filled, other people are often involved, e.g. future team colleagues. Especially when filling management positions, it is important to us that the future directly managed employees get to know the applicants and include their assessment in the evaluation. The support of employees and colleagues, which a new manager experiences right from the start, is an important success factor for a successful cooperation.

Lateral hires also welcome

As a company oriented toward sustainability and social activism, the ecological and civic involvement of our employees is at least as important as school grades or certificates.

In this sense, we also offer attractive employment opportunities to lateral hires who have the appropriate personal and methodological skills.

Targeted advancement of women

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. With regular meetings for all employees on parental leave, we strive as a company to stay in contact with our colleagues and to strengthen their solidarity with VAUDE. See also Balancing professional and private life is important to us.

After parental leave, VAUDE tries hard to meet the interests of returnees. This has an impact, for example, on our high proportion of part-time employees, which was 46 % in 2019.

44 percent of management are women

Furthermore, it is important to us to fill management positions with women in order to achieve a balanced distribution of male and female managers. We are convinced that a partnership-based and innovative corporate culture also thrives on the fact that the composition of our decision-makers is a reflection of society. With Antje von Dewitz we have a woman as managing director. In 2019, 23 of 52 managers were also female, which corresponds to a ratio of 44 %.

Especially at VAUDE's top management level, we are sticking to our medium-term goal of further increasing the proportion of women from the current 33 %. In the second management level, there is still the greatest need for development in terms of the proportion of women, which currently stands at 22 %. To this end, it has increased further at the third management level - 61 % of our team leaders are women.

We are pleased to have a very low turnover rate, which 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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** Our CEO is also a Division Head for Marketing and Communication.

Transparent and fair wages for everyone

The VAUDE Payroll System forms the foundation for fair wages – independent of gender or other arbitrary factors.

As a foundation of the payroll system, all positions in the company were evaluated using a point-based system and divided into different functional levels. For each of these functional levels, compensation ranges were defined. The goal of the VAUDE payroll systems is to reward comparable activities equally and non-comparable activities at different levels.

However, this leaves room for salary differences, e.g. due to individual work experience and performance. We publish the functional levels and compensation ranges on the 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 the statutory minimum wage.

VAUDE also offers a range of discounts and additional services, such as e-bike rental, free sports courses as part of the corporate Health Management System special employee prices for VAUDE products and the option to lease a bike at a discount with "Jobrad".

An indication of the appropriateness and fairness of the salary policy at VAUDE is also provided by the consideration of the salary spread. The ratio between the highest salary and the lowest salary at VAUDE was 8.85 in 2019, which we consider to be exemplary in comparison with known case studies from the economy. Interns, trainees and part-time employees are excluded from our calculation.

Equal pay for women and men

When measuring the salaries of new employees and 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. Differences in salary are due to and can be explained by the qualifications, performance and professional experience of the employees concerned.

We regularly review wage distribution and monitor 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 on how their own wages are classified in relation to their peer group in the personnel area.

Salary differences between men and women were presented in a 2019 analysis of all salaries at VAUDE by an external consulting firm. Measured by basic salary plus variable salary components and non-cash benefits such as company cars or similar, women's salaries were shown to be on average 4.83% lower than the average salary of male colleagues. 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 employment. 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.

Intergenerational cooperation

From "Baby Boomers" to "Generation Z" – up to four generations and correspondingly different age groups work together at VAUDE. Empathy for different attitudes and needs that come with it, and flexible solutions in the company are the key to profiting from this diversity.

Our average age in 2019 was 39.98 years, but the proportion of our employees over 50 is 28% and rising steadily. About 21% of our employees are under 30 years of age. It is important to us to offer good working conditions for all age groups and to promote harmony and innovative cooperation between them.

In 2019, we launched several campaigns to raise awareness of this issue among managers and employees.

For example, our trainees and training officers, together with the Human Resources department, held a series of workshops to highlight the special features of "Generation Z", as well as the opportunities and learning fields in cooperation with employees of other generations - see "Training and Professional Development".

More opportunities for meeting different needs using time value accounts

We are pleased to have employees from different demographic groups in the VAUDE family. Of course we want as many of them as possible to be able to combine their personal life planning and needs with their professional career.

In addition to temporarily putting a career on hold to start a family, part-time work for older employees and personalized transitional solutions at the end of their professional career are becoming increasingly interesting for our employees. 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 an 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 and cooperation with refugees

Through countless activities and a high energy output, we also took a stand in 2018 for refugees who we met as applicants, employees or project and cooperation partners. We had to overcome some major hurdles and setbacks, but we can look back on many successes of which we are proud. More about it

Supporting people with disabilities

We would like to express the social orientation of our company even more strongly in the future by hiring people with disabilities for certain positions.

During the reporting period, we employed four employees with a status of “severely handicapped” – two male and three female employees, – which corresponds to 0.90 % (2018: 0.75 %).

In recent years, we had set ourselves the goal of improving job opportunities for people with disabilities at VAUDE and of hiring more people with disabilities in a targeted manner. So far, we have only partially achieved this goal. The high dynamic and broad range of issues were partly responsible for this. 

With our holistic approach to diversity and equal opportunities, we will also pay greater attention to this in the future. For example, we will take a good look at which company divisions have positions that can be filled by people with disabilities and which tasks are particularly suitable for them. This applies both to permanent employment opportunities and internships. This also includes defining adapted processes in the filling of positions that allow for inclusion.

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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