Development of headcount

A strategic plan for the HR department with five identified areas of action was drawn up and adopted by the Executive Board in the reporting period. Strategic planning is geared towards the future development of the various departments and aims to help HHLA react more swiftly in future to qualitative and quantitative manpower requirements. The main focus areas of the “Employer of Choice” action field, for example, are the optimisation of recruitment and the further development of the HHLA employer brand.

The aim is to provide the majority of services using in-house staff. Employees of Gesamthafenbetriebs-Gesellschaft (GHB) are used by the container handling firms in Hamburg to cover peaks in operating manpower requirements. The recruitment processes used by the individual companies of HHLA AG are monitored by the HHLA manpower planning team. Proposals to create additional jobs are examined for their consideration of economic planning and operational necessity as well as other options for filling positions internally or taking alternative action. This ensures that recruitment does not exceed the HR planning for individual companies approved by the Executive Board and can be synchronised with headcount trends at the other firms with the possibility of synergy effects.

Employees at the HHLA Group

as of 31.12

Development of employees (bar chart)

HHLA had a total of 6,312 employees at the end of 2020. This figure rose by 16, or 0.3 %, compared to the previous year. In addition, HHLA used an annual average of 549 employees of Gesamthafenbetriebs-Gesellschaft (previous year: 753).

Employees by segment

In the Container segment, the number of employees fell to 3,132 as of 31 December 2020. Total headcount was down by 54 year-on-year in the reporting period (previous year: 3,186). This represents a decline of 1.7 %. Due to the expansion of services and the increase in vertical integration, headcount in the segment rose by a further 36 employees in total to 2,279 (previous year: 2,243). Employee numbers in the Logistics segment also increased to 186 in the reporting period (previous year: 167). This represents an increase of 11.4 % and is partly due to the development of further business fields and the associated inclusion of additional companies in the consolidated group. The number of employees at the strategic management holding company increased by 2.6 % to 628 (previous year: 612). In the Real Estate segment, headcount amounted to 87 as of 31 December 2020 (previous year: 88). This figure includes employees from the management holding company who are assigned to the Real Estate segment.


by segments













- 1.7 %







1.6 %







2.6 %







11.4 %

Real Estate






- 1.1 %

HHLA Group






0.3 %

Employees by region

Employees by region

as of 31.12.2020

Employees by region (pie chart)

1 Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia

In geographical terms, the workforce was concentrated mainly in Germany, with 3,632 employees (previous year: 3,597), the majority of whom worked in Hamburg. This corresponds to a share of 57.5 % (previous year: 57.1 %) and is due to the development of further business fields in Germany and a simultaneous slight decrease in the number of staff employed abroad of 0.7 % to 2,680 (previous year: 2,699). In Central Europe, headcount remained unchanged at 1,752 (previous year: 1,752), while the number of employees in Estonia decreased to 224 (previous year: 271). In Ukraine, the number of employees rose by 2.0 % to 469 (previous year: 460).


Of the 174 new employees who had not previously worked for HHLA in Germany, for example via Gesamthafenbetriebs-Gesellschaft mbH Hamburg (GHB), 41 % were under 30 years of age.






thereof females


thereof females

< 30 years






22.5 %

30 – 50 years






22.2 %

> 50 years






45.5 %

HHLA Germany






25.3 %

Since 2013, HHLA has been employing a self-developed selection process (assessment centre) in Germany that not only considers the applicant’s personal and professional suitability, but also diversity aspects. These processes have been used for all blue-collar roles since the end of 2013 and at the holding company and all container in Hamburg since 2014. Members of the company’s staff selection panels receive special training. In addition, the selection panel must include at least one woman for all selection processes in which the pool of applicants includes women.

267 employees were hired by HHLA’s foreign subsidiaries during the reporting period. 92 % of new hires were in the Intermodal segment. Of these 246 new hires, the proportion of women was just under 32 %, while the proportion of under-30s was just under 30 %.

At 4.8 %, the fluctuation rate (excluding internal transfers within the Group) in Germany increased slightly year-on-year (previous year: 4.7 %). Of the 173 people who left the company, 42.2 % were retirees (previous year: 40.8 %).

The fluctuation rate at our foreign subsidiaries was 11.1 % in the reporting period. The proportion of people leaving the company as retirees was relatively low at 2.7 %.

Intermodal/Intermodal systems

Transportation via several modes of transport (water, rail, road) combining the specific advantages of the respective carriers.


In maritime logistics, a terminal is a facility where freight transported by various modes of transport is handled.