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Employee Issues

Within the context of the statutory requirements in the Non-financial Group Declaration, employee issues include the following material topics: “Appeal as an employer” and “Diversity and equal opportunities” (see Materiality Matrix).

Appeal as an Employer

Over the coming years, it is estimated that the number of employees leaving the workforce will exceed the number that can be recruited after completing school by around 400,000. We have to have a robust long-term HR strategy in place to counter risks relating to the availability of skilled staff, which is also a real one for Vonovia – particularly with regard to the blue-collar occupations that are being hit particularly hard by the shortage of skilled workers, for example in landscape gardening and electrical installation. This strategy involves using levers related to recruitment, talent management and measures of employee retention and, going forward, to is create even stronger, smart links between these aspects using state-of-the-art elements related to corporate culture.

Vonovia is also committed to an insourcing strategy. By tapping into the synergy potential created as a result – e.g., by employing specialists in our own business areas such as property management, modernization or green space maintenance – we aim to reduce our reliance on external service providers to a minimum and ensure consistently high levels of quality in the process. This creates a huge opportunity for our business success – at the same time, it creates greater responsibility for a much broader and more diverse workforce, which is why the ongoing further development of an HR strategy that is fit for the future is so important to us.

We are also using the annual employee satisfaction survey and the internal reorganization initiated in the reporting year with the appointment of Ruth Werhahn as the new Management Board member responsible for Human Resources (CHRO) to provide key impetus that will allow us to meet the diverse needs and demands of our employees in an even more targeted manner going forward, and to offer them an attractive job by creating the best possible overall conditions for their work at Vonovia. As we progress on the path towards our target, issues relating to the further development of our corporate culture, human capital development and remuneration, in particular, are to be given even more strategic emphasis in the future.

As Europe’s biggest residential real estate company, we are particularly reliant on filling our vacancies with individuals from the available applicant pools who meet our requirements and match the relevant skill profiles. This is why our comprehensive package of measures for successful recruitment continues to focus on the further development of our application and recruitment process, our training concept, the recruitment of specialists from abroad, and the targeted further training of technical skilled workers and auxiliary staff. In 2023, we launched a revamp of our employer branding strategy and our image as an employer, and conducted broad-based analyses using industry benchmarks and stakeholder interviews in order to further develop our employer brand in a targeted manner. The first set of focal topics are to be elaborated and corresponding target group-oriented measures developed in the coming year.

Following an initial successful recognition process for the initiative to recruit skilled workers from Colombia, which was launched back in 2021, a total of 17 new colleagues are now working for Vonovia in electrical installation and landscape gardening in Kiel, Lübeck and Berlin. Another 26 electronics technicians were recruited from Colombia as part of another round during the reporting year. The new employees will support the expansion of photovoltaic systems within Vonovia’s technical service in the future.

Our HR strategy focuses on the entire HR process, from recruitment to the point at which employees leave the company: People have complex and varied reasons for leaving. As a result, we want to better understand why our employees ultimately decide to leave Vonovia. With this goal in mind, we have also been carrying out extensive qualitative staff turnover analyses since this fiscal year over and above our established quantitative analyses. We want to be able to use this information to identify even more targeted retention measures in the future.

With regard to traineeship programs, we were able to achieve our goal from the previous reporting year of keeping the number of trainees at a consistently high level in 2023 and increasing the number of trainees further from 617 in 2022 to 632 trainees, a new record for Vonovia. This value corresponds to a training rate of 5.3% (for Germany), above the average value of 4.4% for large companies with more than 500 employees calculated in the government’s 2021 Vocational Training Report (Berufsbildungsbericht). To support and create ideal training conditions at Vonovia, we are expanding our training opportunities in 2024, following the merger with Deutsche Wohnen, to include a Berlin-based initial and further training center focusing on vocational training in the trades. Once completed, the building will be equipped in line with state-of-the-art technical and digital standards, and is to serve as a blueprint for the opening of further training sites based on the same model. In 2021, apprenticeship training was newly implemented at our subsidiary BUWOG in Austria, with the very first cohort completing their training in the reporting year. In Sweden, particular emphasis is placed on local recruiting and targeted outreach measures – in schools and within the neighborhood, for example, with 821 young people taking up temporary employment during their vacation (62 of whom at Victoriahem itself) in the reporting year.  These activities were expanded to include other vacation periods in some regions in 2023 due to the positive response.

Retaining existing employees is the third key lever in our human resources strategy, and also helps us shape a modern and attractive corporate culture. In this context, Vonovia seeks to continually improve from within and to individually promote the potential and talents that our employees have to offer – this applies both to our employees and to our senior management. The Vonovia Academy is our central element when it comes to developing our staff and creating a professional and respectful corporate culture in the long run. By way of example, some of the suggestions made in the employee survey were incorporated into direct measures to design new courses and digital learning formats to expand the Vonovia Academy’s offering. This means that we are developing our employees’ skills and knowledge in an even more targeted way with a view to specific roles, functions and requirements in the workforce (e.g., learning formats for junior controllers). Further, we have expanded our offer by including new development packages and formats. On-demand and e-learning services, such as specialized digital training courses for managers and employees, for example change consultation sessions, are designed to make further training and additional qualification at Vonovia an even more flexible and personalized experience in the future. This regular short format allows managers to discuss ideas and receive advice from professional coaches on specific aspects and challenges associated with change processes. As part of the merger with Deutsche Wohnen, which was formally completed in January 2023, over 900 employees were also integrated through team-based onboarding processes and were able to take part in process and system training sessions through the Vonovia Academy.

As part of the extensive development program for managers that was rolled out in 2023, core competencies covering all aspects of good leadership and basic knowledge on innovation topics (e.g., on integrating sustainable action into one’s own area of responsibility) are to be taught in line with the new leadership philosophy. At our Swedish subsidiary Victoriahem, the fourth cohort will complete the leadership talent development program in the first quarter of 2024. This program aims to prepare tomorrow’s managers, using candidates from the existing employee pool, for their future leadership roles.

The satisfaction of our employees is a key concern and thus a decisive indicator for allowing us to assess our appeal as an employer. Since the 2021 reporting year, changes in the employee satisfaction level have been a component of the Group’s key non-financial performance indicator (SPI) and offer a regular indication of the degree to which Vonovia is an attractive employer. The change in survey service provider in the current reporting year came hand-in-hand with a comprehensive revamp of the questionnaire, the aim being to consolidate and clarify the questions, while the questions themselves were tailored even more specifically to suit specific employee groups – for example, for commercial and technical employees. This is directly and positively reflected in a higher participation rate, which, at 84%, has reached a record level compared to all previous surveys and sends out a signal for us as to just how willing our employees are to engage in dialogue. After a year-on-year decline of eight percentage points (-8 pp) for the first time in the past reporting period with regard to an overarching question on general employee satisfaction, the satisfaction score rose again by one percentage point (+1 pp) compared to the last full survey in 2021 and by as much as nine percentage points (+9 pp) compared to the last interim survey in 2022 (excluding Deutsche Wohnen, Care segment and SYNVIA). With regard to the external benchmark prepared by the software service provider Qualtrics, Vonovia outperforms its peers (all Qualtrics companies in Germany) by three percentage points (+3 pp). The current survey now also includes all Deutsche Wohnen employees (including SYNVIA, excluding the Care segment) for the first time. This year’s result means that we have already exceeded our target for 2023 ahead of schedule, which is why we are planning to achieve a result for 2024 that is at least slightly below the previous year’s figure and remains within the target corridor of our five-year plan in the medium term. In 2023, BUWOG also received the Leading Employer Award in Austria and ranks among the top 1% of Austrian employers among the 87,000 companies included in the evaluation.

We value feedback from our employees and are aware of the huge importance of co-determination, and opportunities to have one’s say, for employee loyalty to our company. Following the successful completion of the division-specific evaluation workshops initiated in the reporting year with the involvement of the first and second levels of management below the Management Board, 2024 will focus on the intensive processing and development of targeted follow-up measures.

Material Performance Indicator – Increase employee satisfaction

Material performance indicator - SPI





Target for 2024

Increase employee satisfaction

percentage points



slightly below last year’s level

  1. * Excl. Deutsche Wohnen.
  2. ** Incl. Deutsche Wohnen, Austria and Sweden. Excl. Care segment.

2023 was characterized by sustained high inflation and an associated rise in the cost of living. At the start of the 2023 calendar year, our employees at Vonovia saw a significant increase in their salaries thanks to combined regulations regarding a compensatory inflation bonus totaling up to € 3,000 paid out over 24 months and an income-based pay rise. The majority of Vonovia’s and Deutsche Wohnen’s workforce in Germany are eligible for these benefits. During this process, we focused on income groups that are particularly strongly affected by rising prices. We are using both additional benefits to recognize our employees’ good performance.

The company’s HR processes also support workplace flexibility through mobile working, made possible thanks to a works agreement, and the gradual expansion and further development of digital processes at Vonovia. These include a wide range of functionalities that are already firmly established, such as reporting absences due to illness via an app or digital banking of working hours, allowing employees in many of the company’s departments to work from a location of their choosing. In order to further develop future collaboration in modern working environments, Vonovia recently launched the “New Work @ Vonovia” project, which focuses on the corporate headquarters in Bochum and aims to offer our employees an attractive working environment that meets their individual needs. The initiative comprises four focal topics that will be used to develop further measures as part of a step-by-step process: structuring various working models, state-of-the-art workplace design, digital tools and technologies, and training concepts for managers and employees alike.

As of December 31, 2023, Vonovia employed a workforce of 15,802 (December 31, 2022: 15,915) as well as 1,017 apprentices (December 31, 2022: 926). Of these, 3,825 employees and 385 trainees belong to the Care segment and 52 employees to SYNVIA. This is not shown in the table below. Further information on the Care segment can be found in the section “Homes That Meet People’s Needs and Demographic Change”.

Employee Key Figures

Employee Key Figures*





Total number of employees




of which female




of which permanent








Average age (total)




People with disabilities**




Total number of trainees**




of which commercial




of which technical trade




Training rate**




  1. * Total number of employees by headcount, incl. Deutsche Wohnen (excl. Care segment and SYNVIA). The Care segment comprises a further 3,825 employees and 385 apprentices – 52 employees are accounted for SYNVIA.
  2. ** Not including Sweden. Germany and Austria taken into account.
  3. *** Change in the calculation method in the year 2023 and therefore adjustment of the 2022 value from 43.3 to 43.8.

Diversity and Equal Opportunities

Our workforce at Vonovia is as diverse and international as our tenants: While people from over 145 nations have found a home in our apartments and neighborhoods, our Group as a whole employs people from over 85 different countries. They represent many different age groups, religions and world views, have a variety of physical disabilities, come from varying socio-economic backgrounds, and live their lives with a range of gender identities and sexual orientations.

We regard this diversity as a great strength and opportunity, which we support in a targeted manner and whose potential and competitive advantages we aim to harness. If, on the other hand, we fail to adequately meet the growing diversity demands of our increasingly diverse workforce, we risk falling behind in the competition for skilled workers and not being able to retain existing employees in the long term. As a result, we have incorporated this risk into our risk management system and review it at regular intervals in the context of current developments. We currently measure the risk of not meeting diversity requirements as having only a low potential amount of loss and a very low probability of occurrence (<5%).

Even though we conclude from this figure that we have already achieved considerable equality of opportunity and that we embrace and promote diversity within the company, we continuously implement further initiatives in this context and/or adapt existing measures to reflect changes in underlying conditions. For example, we are updating our seminars on discriminatory behavior (e.g., our mandatory sessions on the Code of Conduct & the German General Act on Equal Treatment, AGG) and continue to focus more closely on the integration of foreign skilled workers and displaced persons with our process to recruit specialists from Colombia, as well as a high degree of flexibility in working hours (also using a flex-time model/digital working hours account) so that all employees can structure their working time to suit their current phase in life. Since this year, a new e-learning session on “Recognizing and reducing prejudices and stereotypes” has been available to all employees free of charge. In order to also more firmly anchor the issue of diversity at the strategic level of the company in the future, a comprehensive range of management development courses – focusing, for example, on the topic of “unconscious bias” – was rolled out in 2023, and the topic of diversity was firmly established in the management roadmap as a key sub-criterion. 

We see the strengthening of women in the company as a special mission, as they – chiefly due to the technical occupations in the field of skilled trades – are considerably underrepresented with a share of 29% of the workforce as a whole (excluding SYNVIA). The SPI indicator “Proportion of women in leadership roles in the first and second level below the Management Board” and our objective of increasing this figure to 30% by 2026 illustrate that we take care to proactively promote women at the management level and give them opportunities to pursue leadership positions and technical occupations. When setting the target – 30% by 2026 – we were guided by the representation of women in the Group as a whole. In Austria, we were awarded the equalitA certification for the internal promotion of women in 2021 and it remains valid to this day. BUWOG has also held state certification as a family-friendly company since 2017, being most recently recertified in the 2023 reporting year.

At the top level of management, the diversity concept for the composition of the management and control bodies is set out in detail in the corporate governance declaration. In addition, until further notice, all new appointments at the first and second management levels below the Management Board will have to be approved by the Chief Human Resources Officer as a mandatory requirement.

The gradual harmonization of social or non-salary benefits aims to ensure corresponding equal rights for all employees. For example, our employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) and a works agreement on mobile working are also in place in Austria. Following the introduction of a new, standardized company pension scheme in 2021, this offer is also available to all Vonovia employees in Germany (including Deutsche Wohnen, excluding SYNVIA and the Care segment). Reconciling one’s family life and professional life is another important issue at BUWOG in Austria, which offers its employees a variety of ways to achieve work-life balance. In 2023, BUWOG successfully achieved recertification as a family-friendly company by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Labor, Family and Youth.

Material Performance Indicator – Proportion of women in management positions (first and second levels below the Management Board)

Material performance indicator - SPI





Target for 2024

Proportion of women in management positions (first and second levels below the Management Board)*





  1. * Excl. Care segment and SYNVIA.

Establishment in the Company

The new Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) role created in the reporting year has been responsible, since October 1, 2023, for Vonovia’s human resources work. The latter has been established centrally as a shared service within the HR department. In 2021, the shared services approach was transformed into an HR business partner model, which is further developed on an ongoing basis. Since the 2023 reporting year, this has also included the Deutsche Wohnen subgroup.

Austria and Sweden have their own HR departments. Austria reports to the HR department in Germany in functional terms, whereas Sweden is still not firmly established in the reporting line. Here, monitoring and reporting takes place as and when required. The Head of HR discusses developments with the CHRO on a regular basis. The objectives and focus of HR work are developed in collaboration with the Management Board and are then cascaded down throughout the organization.