You are here

ThyssenKrupp Steel AG

ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe AG

ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe AG is Germany´s largest steel producer. With a workforce of about 19000 employees, it mainly produces flat quality steel products at different locations for the industry and the automotive industry. In the future, ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe AG goes for growth and innovation - the construction of a steel mill in Brazil and a plant with downstream production facilities in Alabama/USA, as well as the expansion of processing capacities in Germany reflect this strategy. In order to be able to stand its ground in global competition, the company needs to strengthen the employees' motivation and efficiency. ThyssenKrupp Steel AG needs qualified employees in order to stay competitive.

ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe AG sees three main challenges entailed by demographic change. Firstly, longer working lives due to the postponed pension start at the age of 67, the abolition of partial retirement and thus the maintenance of the efficiency of the employees. Secondly: The skill shortage on the job market and the intensified competition for suitable junior employees, and finally the increasing importance of knowledge, and thus the safeguarding of expert knowledge and lifelong learning.

In order to face these challenges, the company has -in a broad-based collaboration between the works councils, the plants and the executive board - tied up a comprehensive package of measures. ProZukunft is a toolbox containing tools for executives and offers for employees. In a first step, the employees of ThyssenKrupp Steel have reduced their working hours by one hour per week in 2006 in order to prevent 500 colleagues from losing their jobs during their fixed-term employments. At the same time, this reduction offers way over 1,000 additional apprentices the chance of being permanently employed after their apprenticeship. This act of solidarity has ensured the reduction of the average age of the workforce and created the basis for further activities.

ProZukunft responds to the challenges involved in demographic change: It is based on the age structure analysis and the personnel planning tool which permit to make forecasts on the qualification and age structure of the individual corporate sections, broken down to each part. The appropriate tools and measures for ProZukunft are derived from the results obtained.

An important element of ProZukunft is the maintenance of the efficiency and the motivation of the employees through innovative health care and safety-at-work measures. The job of the company's medical officers is to prevent illness and to keep the employees healthy. To this end, the working conditions must be such that they do not cause illness. Moreover, employees are motivated to have a healthy lifestyle. ThyssenKrupp Steel has recently concluded an agreement on corporate health management (Betriebliches Gesundheitsmanagement - BGM) to that effect. The object of this agreement is to create outline working conditions - in conjunction with the employees - which do not cause illness. The corporate health management comprises a great number of individual measures, like, for instance, stress management strategies, sleep strategies for employees working rotating shifts, additional medical check-ups to ascertain risk parameters like blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and weight. And last but not least, there are the activities of the company's sports club.

Age-appropriate working hours are especially important for production workers. The partner shift model was elaborated, for instance, for employees who cannot longer take the strain of night shift work: Night shifts of elder colleagues are voluntarily taken over by other colleagues, yet for a limited period of time in order to prevent overwork.

The demographic development also has an impact on the recruitment scope. It gets more and more difficult to find employees on the job market, mainly engineers. For this reason, the company will have to focus on its own junior employees: The talent management comprises a personnel development system for succession planning, the Young Potentials Program which supports young employees in their job-related studies in tandem with their work, and a qualification program for junior employees.

Moreover, the company has become more family-friendly by making working hours more flexible. The objective is to facilitate the re-entry of young parents after the parental leave. ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe AG offers an individual child care service and daycare facilities in case of schedule difficulties. Apart from the support to young families, the care of family members in need of special nursing is coming into the focus.

When elder employees leave the company, their valuable knowledge must be preserved. Knowledge transfer is a complex process where mainly experience must be shared. Within the scope of ProZukunft, knowledge will be passed on in a standardized manner, and successors are systematically initiated, e. g. in guided discussions. Longer working lives imply the necessity for lifelong learning. Our employees' willingness to learn of is very high across all age groups. Yet, elder people have a different learning behaviour than younger ones, they learn at a different pace and rely more on their experience than younger people do. That is why we have adapted the further training courses to the learning behaviour of elder employees.

ProZukunft possesses a tight project organization, involving a steering committee composed of employer and employee representatives. Project specifications, schedules and reports ensure the efficient implementation; a project office is entrusted with the coordination of ProZukunft. We want to sensitize all employees, executives and works councils and motivate them to participate by means of a broadscale communication offensive, involving large-size placards, an article in the inhouse magazine, as well as an information platform on the Intranet.


Christina Spieker , Telefon: +49-203 5247245,






Forum for Sustainable Development of German Business e.V.

econsense is an association of leading, globally active companies and organisations of German business specializing in the area of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Founded in 2000 on the initiative of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the goal of econsense is to provide a dialogue platform and think tank, with the dual objectives of advancing sustainable development in business and assuming social responsibility.