People and Society

To justify the trust others put in us and in GEA, we must live and defend our principles – among our customers, suppliers, competitors, shareholders, our own employees and with the authorities and communities in which we operate. We count on our workforce to protect GEA’s good reputation. – Stefan Klebert, CEO, GEA

Human rights

GEA is uncompromisingly committed to respecting human rights, to fair operating and business practices, especially in the fight against corruption, and to acting in an environmentally conscious and sustainable manner.

Read more about human rights at GEA >>

Occupational health and safety

Occupational health and safety have the highest priority for GEA. Our aim is to protect our own employees and those of our customers – beyond the legal requirements. 

Read more about occupational health and safety at GEA >>

Employees and community

Labor practices

Labor/management relations at GEA are characterized by many years of respectful dialogue and mutual interaction between the company and employee representatives as well as parity co-determination on the company’s Supervisory Board. The latter embraces equal numbers of shareholder and employee representatives. Since the employee representatives serving on the Supervisory Board are elected by the entire German workforce, the interests of all German employees – blue collar workers, white collar workers, and executives alike – are represented in the form of co-determination at company level. Apart from numerous local works councils and general works councils, GEA also has a Group Works Council (GWC) established in accordance with the German Works Constitution Act. At corporate level, local matters and issues are regulated by means of works agreements. 

GEA’s European Works Council (EWC) has the statutory right to be informed and consulted by the management. It engages in a regular dialogue with the Executive Board and Human Resources. The activities of the European Works Council focus on transboundary effects of decisions and developments on employees in the EU member states, the countries of the European Economic Area as well as Switzerland. In 2018, the EWC and GEA’s Executive Board jointly continued developing and adjusting the basic principles of EWC work in a new EWC Agreement with the assistance of IndustriALL Global Union, the glo bal union federation. 

Disclosure 102-41 

Worldwide, around 49 percent (previous year ca. 48 percent) of the workforce are covered by collective agreements. This disclosure is based on data taken from the global “Workday” human resource management system. 

Workforce figures >>
Labor/management relations and co-determination >>
Diversity and equal opportunities >>
Talent management and leadership >>
Learning and qualification >>
Pension schemes >>

Talent management and leadership development

To meet the company’s current and future demand for executives, GEA identifies high performers and potentials within the framework of a global, cross-functional and connected talent process. This process aims at systematically developing talents and retaining them while ensuring that they are optimally positioned within the company. 

In 2019, GEA once again conducted a number of different talent programs for promoting young talents and executives. The target group of the “First Professional Program“ includes young talents with leadership potential, while “Professionals on Stage“ is a scheme designed for executives looking back on several years of experience. Furthermore, GEA is a member of the Global Business Consortium of the London Business School together with five other renowned international enterprises. The program is open to top managers and seeks to enhance their strategic skills. All in all, more than 90 high potentials from different nationalities, functions and business units attended the various programs in 2019. Moreover, GEA offers training for executives. These courses include: “Leading Others,” “Leading Leaders,” “Engaging Employees” and “Leading Virtual Teams” that with a on strengthening leadership skills. In addition, all young talents and executives may avail themselves of the “GEA Leadership Toolbox,” a constantly growing collection of best practice and tried and tested management and leadership tools. These learning opportunities are rounded off by a wide range of e-learning courses. 

Diversity and equal opportunities

GEA operates in a challenging international market environment with a large number of players who influence the company in many different ways – ranging from customers, competitors and employees to the government and society in general. GEA meets the numerous challenges associated with this extremely diverse cultural environment by adhering to the principle of diversity. GEA considers diversity to be a strategic success factor. In this context, diversity is defined as the composition of the workforce in terms of origin, gender, age and qualification. Overall, GEA employs people from around 80 different nations. The age structure of GEA’s workforce is as follows: 9.0 percent of the employees are younger than 30, 57.0 are aged between 30 and 50 while 34.0 percent exceed the age of 50. 

In order to promote diversity on as many levels as possible and to create an attractive working environment by doing so, GEA also takes into account aspects of modern work flexibilization while fostering mobility within the group. 

To institutionalize and manage diversity within the company, the latter relies on its “Diversity Management Policy” as well as a corresponding guideline for executives: This policy describes the overriding goal and the steady state of diversity management at GEA. It provides managers with an instrument for implementing diversity management at all group levels. The policy defines diversity on the basis of four personal criteria – origin, gender, age and qualification – as well as two organizational criteria, namely mobility and flexible working. The latter refers to both working time and a person’s place of work. GEA has implemented a mix of measures designed to promote diversity. For instance, staffing processes place emphasis on including diversity criteria as a standard practice. One of the aims is to attract more women to GEA despite the sector-specific challenges. 

Members of governing bodies and employees by gender

(in %)
thereof men thereof women
Supervisory Board 58.3 41.7
Executive Board 75.0 25.0
Managers* 89.6 10.4
Total workforce 83.4 16.6

*) Number of employees in leadership positions, excluding inactive work relationships; at GEA, the first three management levels below Executive Board level are defined as managers

Citizen GEA

We participate in a large number of regional and local initiatives and exchange views on specialist and market topics in more than 200 trade and industry associations. 

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