Annual Report 2022

Recruiting and retaining employees

Not audited

Strategic measures

Competition for specialist employees and managers has increased significantly in recent years. Highly skilled employees in particular have the freedom to choose and can stipulate their requirements and conditions to companies. HHLA, too, has to compete for suitable talents, while also striving to retain existing employees at the company.

At present, the particular focus of recruitment is on highly specialised employees and managers with several years of professional experience and profound knowledge of project management, also in the areas of digitalisation, logistics and IT. However, those starting out on their career path and people with some initial experience are also being sought and hired.

Another focal point is the strengthening of HHLA’s internal and external employer brand. By strategically utilising and expanding the employer brand, new target groups can be reached and vacancies filled on a sustainably faster basis, with less time being spent on recruitment. This also makes it possible to strengthen the loyalty of existing employees to the company, thereby maintaining staff turnover at a consistently low level.

New hires and turnover

In the 2022 financial year, a total of 185 new employees were hired. The following table provides an overview of the age distribution and the percentage of women among the new hires at the HHLA companies in Germany.

Recruitments 2022





thereof females


thereof females

< 30 years






39.7 %

30 – 50 years






25.8 %

> 50 years






36.8 %

HHLA Germany






32.4 %

Since 2013, HHLA has been employing a self-developed structured selection process (assessment centre) in Germany that not only considers the applicant’s personal and professional suitability but also diversity aspects. The employees in the selection committees are specially trained for this. In addition, the selection panel must include at least one woman for all selection processes in which the pool of applicants includes women.

A total of 449 employees were hired by HHLA’s foreign subsidiaries during the reporting period. Of these new hires, 84.2 % were in the Intermodal segment. The proportion of women among the new employees was just under 26.3 %, while the proportion of under-30s was 41.6 %.

At 5.4 %, the staff turnover rate (excluding internal transfers within the Group) in Germany increased slightly year-on-year (previous year: 4.4 %). Of the 199 people who left the company, 38.7 % were retirees (previous year: 41.9 %). The staff turnover rate at our foreign subsidiaries was 10.0 % in the reporting year (previous year: 11.7 %). By comparison, the proportion of people leaving the company as retirees was low at 0.5 % (previous year: 0.3 %).

Contracts, remuneration and additional benefits

Collective bargaining agreements

Collective bargaining agreements governed pay and working conditions for 82.9 % of employees in Germany in 2022 (previous year: 84.5 %). The proportion of employment contracts of indefinite duration (excluding apprenticeship contracts) was 96.3 % (previous year: 96.5 %).

Collective bargaining agreements governed pay and working conditions for 26.0 % (previous year: 28.4 %) of employees in the foreign subsidiaries; 89.6 % of all employment contracts were of indefinite duration (previous year: 91.7 %).

Appraisal and remuneration systems

The appraisal systems at the German companies contain both bottom-up and top-down components. Some of them are laid out in collective bargaining agreements, comprise variable remuneration components and are linked with training requirements for the company and staff.

The management assessment system at HHLA was realigned in 2020, transferred to a performance management system and applied for the first time during the reporting year. In addition to the existing variable remuneration components, such as ROCE (return on capital employed) and operating result (EBIT), department- and company-specific key figures were adopted as new target categories. 

The realignment of the variable remuneration system aims to promote cross-functional cooperation alongside increased networking and interdepartmental process orientation in order to provide long-term support for the cultural shift at HHLA.

Flexible working models

Part-time employees in Germany

as of 31.12, part-time ratio in %

Developments in HHLA’s part-time employees in Germany (bar chart)

A growing number of people across all employee groups and hierarchy levels in Germany are taking up the option of working part-time to tailor their working hours to different life stages. Offering part-time work is therefore an important way of retaining staff at the company. Allowing staff to adapt their working hours helps them to reconcile their professional and family commitments, look after close relatives or do charity work.

In 2022, a total of 308 employees took up the option of working part-time (previous year: 287). At the end of 2022, the ratio of part-time workers at HHLA in Germany increased to 8.4 % (previous year: 7.8 %) The percentage of men in part-time employment rose to 39.3 % (previous year: 38.0 %). At the holding company, where most roles are administrative, the percentage of part-time workers (excluding apprentices) was 17.4 % (previous year: 18.0 %). At HHLA’s foreign subsidiaries, the ratio of part-time work was 1.0 % during the reporting year (previous year: 0.7 %).

Company pension scheme

Since the complete reorganisation and further development of company pension schemes in 2018, employees in Germany now have more flexibility in terms of shaping their working lifetimes. Both individual early retirement solutions and various options for lump-sum payouts upon retirement boost the appeal of company pension schemes for employees.

Existing claims from models such as the working lifetime account and the so-called “port pension” have been transferred to the HHLA capital plan. By pooling these provisions within a single system, HHLA is addressing rising employee needs with regard to transparency. In 2022, 69.3 % (previous year: 64.9 %) of entitled employees were already taking advantage of this pension system.

Earnings before interest and taxes.
Intermodal/Intermodal systems
Transportation via several modes of transport (water, rail, road) combining the specific advantages of the respective carriers.
ROCE (return on capital employed before taxes)
EBIT / Average operating assets.

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