Advancing Women and Family-Friendly Personnel Policy

For Volkswagen, a family-friendly personnel policy is a key aspect of being an attractive employer. Volkswagen is also aiming to achieve a lasting increase in the proportion of women in its workforce and thereby make a contribution towards achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In 2011, the Group set differentiated targets for the proportion of women employees in the workforce, within the framework of a voluntary undertaking. We recruit the best graduates from each cohort in the required specialist disciplines, taking as our starting point the proportion of female graduates in each discipline. When all the disciplines relevant to Volkswagen’s work are averaged out, these differentiated quotas produce a recruitment target for female graduates of 30%.

Volkswagen aims to attract female students at an early stage. We use our Germany-wide “Woman DrivING Award” and “Woman Experience Day” to focus on female engineering and computer science students and graduates and help us recruit them for technical careers with us.

VW Passat GTE wagon – fuel consumption in l/100 km: from 1.7 to 1.6 (combined); energy consumption in kWh/100 km: from 12.9 to 12.4 (combined); CO2 emissions in g/km: from 39 to 37 (combined); CO2 efficiency class: A+

Bringing more qualified women into the Company will enable us gradually to increase the proportion of female executives in the coming years. Volkswagen AG has set itself targets with the aim of increasing the proportion of women in management: by the end of 2016, the aim is that 9.8% of employees at the first level of management will be women, with women making up 13.3% of employees at the second level of management.

The Volkswagen Group is aiming to employ women in 30% of all management posts in Germany in the long term. Over the reporting period, the proportion of women in management positions overall rose to 10.3%, compared with 10.2% in the previous year. We are encouraging this trend with a number of different measures. For example, 2015 saw the second cohort embarking on the cross-brand “Management Mentoring Program”, designed to support women on the way to management positions, with 63 participants from the Volkswagen Group in Germany. In addition, Volkswagen offers the “Compass” program specifically to encourage women with high potential in their decision to aim for a career in management. Over the reporting period, 60 women from Volkswagen AG and from Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH, Volkswagen Financial Services AG and Autovision GmbH took part in this program.

In 2015, Audi launched its “Focus on Personnel Development” program, which targets female graduates with professional experience and outstanding technical performance. The aims of the program are to foster the professional development of women in the management area, encourage them to reflect on their skills and abilities, highlight options, and promote networking.

In addition, Volkswagen is aiming to raise the proportion of women among its skilled workers and group leaders in Germany to 10%; in the 2015 fiscal year, the proportion in the Volkswagen Group in Germany (excluding Scania, MAN and Porsche) was 4.7%.

Volkswagen specifically targets the recruitment of talented women, for example by arranging special work experience and orientation days for young women, with the aim of increasing the proportion of female vocational trainees in industrial and technical trades from 22.6% in 2015 to 30%. The aim of these events is to give young women a taste of training in these occupations and to support them in their career choices. For many years, the Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, MAN and Volkswagen Financial Services brands have participated in Germany’s national “Girls’ Day”. In the reporting year, they offered over 2,000 female school students a behind-the-scenes look at careers in the automotive industry. On Technology Day, ŠKODA gave 300 female students the opportunity to get a taste of working in technical and scientific occupations by taking part in practical exercises.

Volkswagen has offered participation in the “Lower Saxony Technikum” at its sites in Lower Saxony, Germany, since 2012. Female high school graduates complete an internship in a specialist technical area and also attend university lectures. Since 2012, 91% of all participants – a total of 76 women – have opted for a technical degree or vocational training. Of these, 16 completed a dual course of study at Volkswagen. MAN has taken part in the Lower Saxony Technikum at its Salzgitter site since 2015. International events also encourage young women to study STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Bentley was one of the founding partners in the “Girls Engineering the Future” campaign. As well as appointing female staff as Bentley STEM ambassadors, over the past two years the company has developed and launched a 20-week program for local schools. Its aim is to recruit more young women to undertake apprenticeships at Bentley.

As well as recruiting and promoting talented women, Volkswagen is working continually to improve employees’ ability to combine work and family responsibilities. The Group offers many different arrangements to enable individuals to combine the demands of work and home. These include flexible part-time working and shift patterns or teleworking at Volkswagen and Audi and home-office working at Porsche. All brands also run programs to ensure a smooth return to work after parental leave.

A further step on the way to becoming a family-friendly employer is the ongoing expansion of tailored childcare provision. The Volkswagen Group has found it beneficial to establish childcare facilities within or near the company, both in Germany and elsewhere. In addition to existing facilities, for example those at Volkswagen Financial Services AG or the Volkswagen Group of America in Chattanooga which emerged last year, daycare centers have also been set up near the Volkswagen AG plants in Hanover and Emden, in collaboration with the local authority. There are plans to expand childcare provision at further sites. All German sites of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and MAN brands also offer childcare during school holidays. The range of provision outside Germany is also being expanded, such as the company-funded holiday camps provided at Volkswagen plants in Shanghai, Navarra, Chattanooga and Kaluga.

Programs for the Advancement of Women

Programs for the Advancement of Women

Program Target group and focus Company
Programs for recruiting talented women
Girls’ Day Female school students in Germany. Program offers a practical insight into careers in the automotive industry. Volkswagen AG, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH, Volkswagen Osnabrück GmbH, Volkswagen Financial Services AG, AUDI AG, Porsche AG, MAN
Lower Saxony Technikum Female students in Germany with school-leaving qualifications (Abitur). Program offers placements with focus on technology. Volkswagen AG locations in Wolfsburg, Braunschweig, Hanover, Emden and Salzgitter; Volkswagen Osnabrück GmbH, MAN T&B Salzgitter
Woman Experience Day Female undergraduates and graduates in engineering and IT. Volkswagen AG
Woman DrivING Award Competition for female engineers in Germany. Volkswagen AG
Femtec.Network Recruitment of female undergraduates, graduates and professionals specializing in engineering and sciences. Porsche AG
Girls for Technology Camp / Girls in Research Camp Female school students interested in technical subjects experience and experiment with technology for themselves. AUDI AG, MAN T&B in Munich
talents@ZEIT Female graduates and young professionals. MAN T&B
WOMAN's career day Electrical and automotive engineering, mechanical engineering, mechatronics, industrial engineering MAN
Programs for developing talented women
Mentoring program for female Meister Female skilled workers and Meister. Program offers advancement and qualification. Volkswagen AG, Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH, AUDI AG
Kompass Female high-potentials. Program offers advancement and qualification. Volkswagen AG, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Volkswagen Financial Services AG, AutoVision, Volkswagen rGmbH, Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH
Management mentoring program Female managers. Program offers advancement and qualification. Volkswagen AG, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Volkswagen Financial Services AG, VW Sachsen GmbH, AUDI AG, MAN, AutoVision, ŠKODA, Porsche AG
Sie und Audi (“Audi and You”) Various programs offering high-potential candidates advancement and qualification on their way to becoming team leaders or managers. AUDI AG

Work-Life Balance

Ensuring that our employees strike a healthy balance between their professional and personal lives is a constant challenge, but if the balance is right, it boosts employee satisfaction, reduces absenteeism and increases productivity. Employees and the Company both benefit. And a company that works hard to ensure its employees have a good work-life balance is also valued as a good employer. Hence we support our employees with a wide range of programs to help them combine their professional duties with their family responsibilities.

Activities around the Group

Volkswagen Slovakia: An initial get-together for employees on parental leave was organized in 2014. The idea is to keep employees involved with the company and to make it easier for them to return to work, for example by providing childcare, e-learning and flexible working.

Volkswagen Group Rus: In 2015, 80 children of employees at the Kaluga plant once again enjoyed a company-funded holiday camp.

Volkswagen Motor Polska und Volkswagen Poznań: The “Future Mother” program allows women to work flexible hours or reduce their hours without loss of pay during pregnancy. Additional benefits include special rest areas for pregnant and breastfeeding employees, comfortable office chairs, dedicated parking spaces near their place of work, and special examinations arranged by the in-house medical service.

Protection for pregnant women and new mothers underwent substantial change at Volkswagen Chattanooga during the reporting year. Female shop-floor and back-office employees can now take up to 10 weeks’ paid leave after the birth of their child. Fathers and adoptive parents now also have an entitlement to one week’s paid leave. Mothers have the right to work part-time for the first month after returning to work. This benefit is of particular significance, since the USA has no statutory provision for paid maternity leave.

Volkswagen Group of America: Childcare provision has been offered at the Chattanooga plant since 2012, working with an established regional provider to care for around 200 children.

ŠKODA AUTO’s family-friendly policies include programs for supporting children’s enrolment in preschools and schools, as well as reintegration at work after maternity leave. The company supports the advancement of women by giving priority to women when recruiting new employees and fostering women’s professional development through the “ŠA Talentpool”.

Caring for Family Members

Volkswagen also has a wide range of provisions for leave of absence to help employees care for close family members. Employees have a right to take up to ten working days of leave at short notice to organize appropriate care. They may also take up to six months of part-time or full-time leave to care for a family member. Another option is to work part-time for up to 24 months so as to be able to meet caring obligations.

At Porsche, employees have been able to apply for time off to care for family members since 2014. In the event of care being urgently required within the family, they can take up to three months’ leave at 75% of their gross monthly pay. In this respect, Porsche goes well beyond the statutory requirements, which do not stipulate any remuneration for such leave.


Volkswagen is particularly flexible in its commitment to re-employ workers who take extended leave: for the past 20 years or so, employees have been able to request up to eight years’ leave of absence without having to give reasons. Regardless of whether this leave is used for training and skills development, parental leave or for taking a sabbatical, employees have a guaranteed right to re-employment on their former terms and conditions. Audi and Porsche both run traditional sabbatical programs. At Audi, the program is based on the “Sabbatical” works agreement drawn up in 2009; at Porsche, the program is governed by the 2014 company agreement on voluntary personal leave.