Development of headcount

The HR strategy of HHLA comprises five action fields: “Employer of Choice”, “Develop Further”, “Work Together”, “Resource Management” and “Co-Determination”. 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 strategic HR needs planning for individual companies approved by the Executive Board and that it 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 6,444 employees at the end of 2021. This figure rose by 132, or 2.1 %, compared to the previous year. In addition, HHLA used an annual average of 624 employees of GHB (previous year: 549).

Employees by segment

In the Container segment, the number of employees rose to 3,149 as of 31 December 2021. Total headcount was up by 17 year-on-year in the reporting period (previous year: 3,132). This represents an increase of 0.5 %. Due to the expansion of services and the increase in vertical integration, headcount in the segment rose by a further 31 employees in total to 2,310 (previous year: 2,279). Employee numbers in the Logistics segment also increased to 253 in the reporting period (previous year: 186). This represents an increase of 36.0 % 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 2.7 % to 645 (previous year: 628). In the Real Estate segment, headcount amounted to 87 as of 31 December 2021 (previous year: 87). This figure includes employees from the management holding company who are assigned to the Real Estate segment.


by segments













0.5 %







1.4 %







2.7 %







36.0 %

Real Estate






0.0 %

HHLA Group






2.1 %

Employees by region

Employees by region

Number of employees as of 31.12.2021: 6,444

Employees by region (pie chart)

1 Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia

In geographical terms, the workforce was concentrated mainly in Germany, with 3,674 employees (previous year: 3,632), the majority of whom worked in Hamburg. This corresponds to a share of 57.0 % (previous year: 57.5 %) and is due to the development of further business fields abroad and a simultaneous slight rise in the number of staff employed abroad of 3.4 % to 2,770 (previous year: 2,680). In Central Europe, headcount increased slightly year-on-year to 1,774 (previous year: 1,752), while the number of employees in Estonia decreased to 212 (previous year: 224). In Ukraine, the number of employees rose by 0.9 % to 473 (previous year: 469).


Of the 147 new employees who had not previously worked for HHLA in Germany, for example via GHB, 43.5 % were under 30 years of age.

Recruitments 2021





thereof females


thereof females

< 30 years






35.9 %

30 – 50 years






27.3 %

> 50 years






35.3 %

HHLA Germany






32.0 %

Since 2013, HHLA has been employing a self-developed selection process (assessment centre) in Germany that considers not only 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.

351 employees were hired by HHLA’s foreign subsidiaries during the reporting period. 77.8 % of new hires were in the Intermodal segment. Of these 351 new hires, the proportion of women was just under 26.8 %, while the proportion of under-30s was 52.4 %.

At 4.4 %, the fluctuation rate (excluding internal transfers within the Group) in Germany decreased slightly year-on-year (previous year: 4.8 %). Of the 160 people who left the company, 41.9 % were retirees (previous year: 42.2 %). The fluctuation rate at our foreign subsidiaries was 11.7 % in the reporting period (previous year: 11.1 %). By comparison, the proportion of people leaving the company as retirees was very low at 0.3 % (previous year: 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.