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Two employees in orange protective jackets discuss on the roof of the airport next to solar panels

The generational change challenge

What a difference 3 years make

The number of employees on the airport campus has grown on average by three each day since 2015. However, many experienced employees will enter well-earned retirement in the coming years. FMG is meeting this challenge with a strategy that is based on the values of younger generations and promotes structured knowledge transfer.

34,720 employees on the airport campus in 2015
+3.2% average annual growth rate
38,0901 employees on the airport campus in 2018

1 Figures taken from current 2018 employee survey

Demographic challenge and culture change

A major employer

An airport that makes an impact across the region

With its 10,109 employees,1 Munich Airport Group is the second-biggest employer at the site after Deutsche Lufthansa AG. Overall more than 38,000 people work at the airport. Statistically speaking, three new jobs are created every day at present at Munich Airport.2 The neighboring Freising job center region, which also covers the Dachau, Ebersberg, and Erding districts, has one of the lowest levels of unemployment in Germany, at 1.9 percent on average. This corresponds to almost full employment and reflects the huge importance of Munich Airport for the regional labor market. The airport provides one in four of all employment relationships liable for social security contributions in the districts of Freising and Erding. Wage levels at Munich Airport are above the average values in related sectors in the transport or services industry.

1 Including apprentices

2 Employee survey 2018

518 companies are based at Munich Airport.

Munich Airport is ranked among the top three employers for the first time

FMG was ranked third in a nationwide survey of the 1,000 best German employers. Together with the employer rating platform kununu, Focus Business identifies the best in sector on an annual basis in addition to this overall assessment: FMG came out on top for the fifth time in a row in the category «Traffic, Transport, and Logistics». The employer ratings included both objective criteria, such as salary, social benefits, and training opportunities, as well as subjective assessments on working atmosphere, work-life balance, and other factors.

Two employees on their knees in neon-yellow protective clothing on the runway above a yellow ground marking
Three new jobs per day have been created at Munich Airport since 2015.

Farsighted HR policy

Five fields of action

Munich Airport believes in the importance of an HR policy that focuses both on people and on the company’s performance. For this reason, the long-term HR concept is based on current business conditions and the corporate strategy, as well as social megatrends such as demographic change, diversity, digitalization, individualization, mobility, health, and education. The human resources strategy sets out important objectives for HR management, which are reviewed annually and adjusted as required. The major challenges in human resources for the coming years are demographic development, the skills shortage in the highly competitive labor market, as well as digital transformation and the associated culture change required within the Group. FMG has identified five fields of action to meet these challenges:

  • Recruitment
  • Staff development
  • Employee retention and maintaining employability
  • Process optimization through digitalization, automation, and standardization
  • Examination of the service portfolio in the Group

Brief interview


Dr. Robert Scharpf in a dark blue suit looking straight into the camera
Dr. Robert Scharpf Senior Vice President HR and Authorized Representative

Mr. Scharpf, how would you characterize Munich Airport as an employer?

The core of our brand is «Living ideas – Connecting lives». We establish a reliable connection with colleagues and offer exciting challenges and a fascinating workplace in the urban and innovative Airport City.

Because of demographic change, there is an increased demand for new employees. What does the airport demand of potential colleagues?

The airport business is a highly complex matter. The willingness to think and act across departments is essential. In terms of most activities, this requires soft skills such as a change in perspective, communication, and conflict resolution. Team spirit is a decisive success factor in the airport family. Ideally, different employee generations work together and learn from each other.

What expectations do younger generations bring to the interview?

Applicants today are much more self-assured – this is also understandable considering there is almost full employment in the region. Important aspects include flexible working hours, solidarity among colleagues, challenging and varied tasks, and naturally remuneration.

The «demographics future program» offers clarity

Due to retirement-related departures and spontaneous fluctuations, the Group is facing a recruitment demand of more than 13,000 employees by 2030, which seems unlikely to be filled considering the skills shortage in the airport region and in the greater area of Munich. For this reason, FMG has launched its «demographics future program». The program aims to determine the expected demographic change based on age structure and to develop suitable countermeasures – both with special initiatives for areas that are particularly badly hit, and by taking overarching measures whose influence will extend to the entire Group. Solving this challenge involves measures such as recruiting new employees through an excellent employer image and addressing specific target groups on the job market, strengthening the bond of the current workforce to the company through attractive employment conditions, or developing the skills of the individual professional groups in the company. Considering the difficult situation on the job market, other activities must also aim to remain efficient and successful, despite the lack of available personnel. The systematic approach adopted in the «demographics future program» illustrates the challenge facing the company in terms of human resources and clarifies the fields of action.

The topic of work-life balance has become increasingly prominent in recent years.

Age structure in the Group1

Age structure in the Group 2017 to 2019, 2019: 1,538 persons under 30 years, 5,056 persons between 30 and 50 years and 3,212 persons over 50 years
1 Figures exclude apprentices, workers in minor employment, temporary workers, and interns

Skills shortage challenges HR policy

The ongoing economic growth of the past years was always addressed by the company by recruiting new staff, and this policy was successful, too. In the long term, however, the company must be able to continue to grow without increasing the workforce at the same time. The skills shortage has become particularly acute in technical and IT professions and on the operational front with passenger and aircraft handling. Major efforts are needed in recruitment and HR marketing in order to attract new staff. Changing skills requirements also make it necessary to prepare the workforce for the use of new technologies and working methods by introducing innovative HR development concepts. To maintain staff employability, demand-driven preventive and healthcare measures are also necessary. In turn, new generations bring different expectations to the company as regards working patterns, collaboration, and leadership, which must be reflected in HR policy. Apart from their impact on working methods and culture, technology and digitalization can also help to make processes more efficient.

Facts and Figures

Employment costs

1 Including subsidies for travel and meals

Target for 2020
Creating further training offers for employees with different digital affinities

Brief interview

Active knowledge transfer

Gerhard Holuba smiles into the camera in a dark suit
Gerhard Holuba Head of Training Management

Mr. Holuba, many colleagues will leave their employment at the airport in the coming years for age-related reasons. What are the challenges posed by generational change?

Both practical knowledge and expertise in new technologies and working patterns are extremely important for us. If we do not actively address the transfer of knowledge to the next generation, then all of the experience our employees have accumulated over decades will be gone in an instant as soon as colleagues leave the Group.

How can the company prevent the loss of valuable expertise?

Temporary duplication of posts is one solution in my view. That’s why we have launched a pilot project in the training workshop for technical professions: A core team comprising three experienced mechatronic masters familiarize a new instructor over an eighteen month period before a member of the team retires. The instructor undergoes all phases of the apprenticeship year at the same time and attends special courses for instructors, with one or more experienced colleagues on hand at all times. This means that valuable know-how is preserved for the next generation.

Education and training

Commitment to the next generation

The Munich Airport Group is one of the largest training organizations in the region. School leavers have a choice of 19 different apprenticeships and dual fields of study. FMG received 1,279 applications to begin an apprenticeship starting in 2019, which then underwent a multistage selection process. On September 1, 2019, some 116 apprentices embarked upon their professional career at Munich Airport. This meant there were 303 young people taking part in apprenticeships Group-wide as of the reporting date of December 31. At the same time, 48 young people completed their apprenticeships at FMG. Flughafen München GmbH provides training on a needs-driven basis: All graduates are then taken on as employees. An onboarding program allows apprentices to make contacts, gain initial experience of teamwork, and get to know the airport campus right from the start. Another particular feature of the airport as a training organization is the intensive professional and personal support provided by the full-time trainers and the around 250 part-time instructors.

Venturing out into the world
with FMG
In 2019, 17 apprentices visited partner airports in Athens and Vienna.

Facts and Figures


Employees Facts & Figures

In 2019, some 93 school-age children and 112 university interns received an insight into the world of airports, producing 12 project-related Bachelor’s and Master’s dissertations in the process. A twelve-month graduate trainee program prepares university graduates for professional life at the airport. The program includes intensive sharing of expertise and also aims to hone understanding of the complex overall airport system. In addition, a mentoring program helps trainees to establish their own company-wide network. For the eleventh time, Munich Airport hosted Berufsfit in 2019, a regional careers orientation event, which is traditionally organized by Germany’s national working group on schools and business «SchuleWirtschaft». More than 60 different fields of study and in excess of 150 training opportunities were presented.

5 young people in different work clothes (fire brigade outfit, blue dungarees, everyday outfit) walk towards the camera in the airport hall and talk
303 young people are currently completing apprenticeships in the Group.

Award for outstanding training

Business magazine «Focus Money» again awarded Munich Airport the seal of approval as «Germany’s best training organization» in the Traffic and Transport segment. Moreover, Munich Airport was distinguished by business magazine «Capital» in 2019 for its excellent training program. The airport received top marks in the areas of support, opportunities for success, in-company learning, training marketing, digitalization, and innovation.

Globally connected

The popular international exchange programs help employees to develop as people, and Munich Airport to progress as a business. In 2019, as part of the European mobility program «Erasmus+», 17 apprentices visited partner airports in Athens or Vienna. In return, five apprentices each from Vienna Airport and the winter maintenance team at Athens Airport visited Munich. Four FMG employees consolidated their know-how at Reykjavík-Keflavík Airport. A select group of 33 specialists and managers had an opportunity to make contact with their expert colleagues during a visit to the airports in Johannesburg and Durban (Airports Company South Africa), Denver, and Beijing-Daxing, which was opened in 2019. In return, delegations from other airports, including Bangkok, Singapore, and Moscow, visited Munich.

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Facts and Figures

Sister airports

World map with Sister Airports: Moscow, Beijing, Nagoya, Bangkok, Singapore, South Africa, Denver

Airport Academy: expertise in education and training

Munich Airport operates a certified, in-house training center with just under 50 employees. On more than 38,000 participant days, 16,000 Group employees and external customers attended seminars there, focused particularly on the areas of human resources, management, aviation, and security. The Airport Academy, moreover, offers training for an international audience, as an accredited training institute of the Airports Council International (ACI) – in cooperation with the international umbrella association of passenger airports. More than 100 external cybersecurity specialists received advanced training in two different seminar types in the Information Security Hub. The plan is for the Airport Academy to move to the LabCampus premises by the first quarter of 2023. Spacious conference rooms, seminar rooms equipped with cutting-edge technology, and a number of office units are planned over a gross floor area of 14,500 square meters. In addition to flexible catering facilities, a central event area is also scheduled for the first floor, which will cater for up to 500 guests.

Visualization of a modern glass complex in front of a bright blue sky, with people cavorting all around on a forecourt
Looking ahead to the future: view of what the new Airport Academy will look like

Employee satisfaction and codetermination

Employee survey plays its part in change

The follow-up process to the Group-wide 2017 employee survey was rolled out intensively in 2018 and 2019, both decentrally by management in their respective units and centrally in overarching fields of action. The results reflected the employees’ connection to, and satisfaction with, the airport – at the same time, the topics of «cross-division cooperation» and «perception of top management» were identified as fields of action. The well attended «Mitg’redt forums», for example, now allow an open exchange of opinions between the workforce and top management. Another new format, the «Ausg’fragt» video series, makes top management more approachable and provides an insight into its everyday working life. Feedback events were also held in 2019 to discuss the results of the employee survey with the FMG Executive Board, at which all top-level managers were given an opportunity to present their measures and the respective state of implementation as part of the follow-up process.

The next employee survey is planned for 2021.

FMG promotes codetermination

The voice of the employee is a valuable factor in corporate decisions. Employees have numerous opportunities to get involved in committees that are required by law or other working groups, i.e., the Supervisory Board, Youth and Trainees Council, and the Council for Employees with Disabilities. Most of the overarching regulations in the company culminate in works agreements with the FMG works council, which currently has 31 members. The employee representatives have concluded important works agreements with the employer in the last few years, for example on topics such as accommodation for employees in the airport region, occupational integration management, or provision of parking spaces for employees close to the terminal. Even the annual employee appraisal is anchored in the corporate culture in the form of a works agreement.

4 «Mitg’redt forums» in 2019 promoted open discourse between the workforce and top management.

Payments above the general pay scale

Flughafen München GmbH is a member of the regional public employers’ association «Kommunaler Arbeitgeberverband Bayern e. V.» and, as such, is bound by the TVöD collective pay scale agreement for public sector employees. FMG employees receive a company retirement provision, which is governed by the pay scale agreement and covered by the Bavarian supplementary pension fund for public sector employers. An average wage increase of 3.09 percent was awarded under the collective agreement in April 2019, and from March 2020, employees will receive on average 1.06 percent more in their pay packets. The current collective agreement is set to end on August 31, 2020. In the competition for skilled labor, the company creates good conditions for its employees. As a modern and family-friendly employer, FMG offers numerous supplementary benefits outside of the general pay scale, such as flexible working hours, home and mobile offices, the company’s own daycare center, travel subsidies, accommodation for staff, company retirement provision, a wide selection of sports and healthcare services, as well as diverse advanced training opportunities.

Employees covered by collective bargaining agreements

Proportion of total employees in %1

Employees with collective agreements 2017-2019: 96.24 Percentage of total workforce
1 All percentages are based on the total number of employees including apprentices, workers in minor employment, temporary workers, and interns.

Target for 2020
Creating competitive employment conditions, for example through bonuses or the provision of accommodation

Airports Council International (ACI)
An international organization, headquartered in Montreal, which represents airport operators. More than 1,900 airports in almost all of the countries in the world are ACI members, including more than 500 airports in 46 European countries.

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