Growth in the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s workforce 2013–2017

At year-end 2017, Fraunhofer had 25,327 employees, 17,965 of whom were research, technical or administrative staff (RTA staff), 6888 graduate, undergraduate or school students, and 474 trainees. That corresponded to a year-over-year increase of 3.6 percent or 869 employees in 2017. Personnel growth was thus much stronger in 2017 than in the prior year, where the corresponding figure was a rather subdued 1.6 percent.

In accordance with its mission statement, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft offers its employees the opportunity to develop the professional and personal skills that will allow them to take up positions of responsibility either at Fraunhofer or in other areas of science or industry. This approach, which builds on the Fraunhofer Guiding Principles, makes clear that, for the overwhelming majority of employees – especially research personnel – Fraunhofer represents an important stage in their individual careers. Fraunhofer offers both careers in management as well as career paths as specialists. The latter have already been formalized at a number of Fraunhofer Institutes. Careers may continue outside the Fraunhofer environment (springboard careers) in line with the organization’s mission of knowledge transfer. Experience gained at Fraunhofer prepares employees not only for a later career in industry or science, but also forstarting up spin-offs. Against this backdrop of knowledge transfer, Fraunhofer’s high employee turnover rates among RTA staff are a positive phenomenon.

In 2017, 1509 RTA staff left the organization, while 2142 employees were newly hired. Three-quarters of new recruits were young researchers embarking on a career. Overall, at year-end, Fraunhofer employed around 9800 scientists, accounting for 55 percent of all RTA staff.