The multifaceted abilities and personal efforts of all employees are the key to Covestro’s success. Every employee has both the freedom and a mandate to act and contribute in line with our corporate values. Covestro thus promotes a working environment that is shaped by unconventional thinking, effective exchange of knowledge, creative problem-solving, constructive feedback and collegial cooperation. We aim to empower each of our employees to work to their full potential. Our managers are responsible for facilitating and supporting these objectives in close collaboration with our employees. In this way, we can work together to make an ongoing contribution to the company’s success.

As of December 31, 2018, Covestro had 16,770 employees worldwide (previous year: 16,176). At the reporting date, the Group also had 541 employees in vocational training worldwide (previous year: 505), 516 of whom were based in Germany (previous year: 489).

See note 9, “Personnel Expenses and Employee Numbers” in the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements

Employees by Corporate Function1








Dec. 31, 2017


Dec. 31, 2018



in FTE


in FTE

1 The number of employees on either permanent or temporary contracts is stated in full-time equivalents (FTE). Part-time employees are included on a pro-rated basis in line with their contractual working hours.






Marketing and distribution





Research and development





General administration










Employees in vocational training





For more information, see subsection “Employee metrics” in the GRI Supplement

Human resources profile and focus

The focus of human resources is on promoting employees’ individual skills and advancing their expertise, thus enabling them to optimally contribute to interdisciplinary collaboration. Our cultural awareness and our corporate values set standards for performance-related behavior and the respectful interaction with each other. Covestro makes it possible for employees to be directly involved in change processes and contribute their own feedback in order to continually improve the work processes and conditions. We place the highest priority on health and safety in the workplace. The constant monitoring and improvement of occupational safety, along with the range of programs and initiatives aimed at promoting health, provide vital conditions for successful collaboration. In addition, we place a particular focus on further reinforcing diversity and inclusion.

In terms of its structure and its content, the HR organization is positioned in line with the previously mentioned goals, and together with the new personnel management system launched this year, it reflects the necessary processes on a global level.

For more information, see subsection “Occupational health and safety” in the GRI Supplement

Hiring and retaining highly qualified employees

It is a strategic challenge for Covestro to be regarded as an attractive employer worldwide. We aim to retain qualified employees for the long term, ensure their professional and personal development and hire new talent.

When recruiting new employees, the Employer Branding and Recruiting departments rely increasingly on digital channels. The company reaches out to different target groups through social media and digital platforms such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor to introduce Covestro as an employer. Career sites were launched in 22 countries in 2018 to allow different target groups to be contacted at regional and national levels. These sites showcase Covestro as a company but also as an attractive employer in the respective region. We also rolled out an application management system globally in all of the countries, providing interested candidates the opportunity to view our current job postings around the world and to apply directly online. In this way, we focus our recruiting activities on the applicant.

We engage in numerous activities to maintain our overall attractiveness and significance as an employer brand. In all countries in which we are present, we actively conduct HR marketing to attract employees, thereby relying on direct interactions. To achieve this, we maintain close contacts with leading universities, are involved in international networks of students and take part in career fairs. Furthermore, we hold career events, workshops and tours at various Covestro sites. For instance, Covestro is involved in UNITECH International, a network of prospective engineers from nine universities and 22 companies.

In addition to the vocational training options we offer in Germany, we bring in high-school and college students to take part in numerous attractive professional internships worldwide each year. This gives them insight into our company’s operations as well as personal experience with Covestro as an employer. In addition, Covestro offers interesting trainee programs for university graduates. For job activity profiles, we actively approach candidates and introduce the entry level options.

We also hold global competitions, award ceremonies and other events to encourage special achievements and outstanding commitment. For example, Covestro was a partner company in the Carbon Footprint Challenge 2018, which recognized ideas for reducing the carbon footprint in the industrial sector. This competition was hugely successful. Teams of students from 81 countries submitted over 150 different suggestions featuring ideas for ways to optimize the carbon footprint of processes and products in the future.

Promoting and developing employees and their development

Well educated and trained staff is crucial for ensuring that the company can further develop and is essential to the company’s success. We believe in the concept of lifelong learning. We support our employees in continuing their professional and personal education throughout all phases of their careers.

To this end, we offer a wide range of customized continuing education options for all employees through our in-house learning concept entitled Coversity (a term that combines Covestro and university). Coversity holds numerous in-person classes and virtual training sessions worldwide at its Functional Campus, Project Campus, Leadership Campus and Virtual Campus, each of which focuses on a different target group. In support of the corporate strategy, the following focal points were highlighted in 2018: digital transformation and expansion of e-learning offerings, engineering and project management programs and agile work methods.

In the area of personnel development, Covestro uses a model with clearly defined core and leadership skills that serves as a reference for all employees. This is intended to ensure that managers and employees use the same vocabulary and uniform criteria when assessing performance. This model is used to conduct sound career planning, performance assessment and potential assessment for employees. The requirement profile for top management at Covestro was also revised this year, particularly to specify the focal points of the leadership behavior expected in the future. We have also transferred our performance assessment approach to an ongoing dialog between staff and supervisors held during the year, thus ensuring the timely adjustment of goals and priorities. In addition, performance meetings are held between staff and supervisors in which individual strengths and improvement opportunities as well as professional development perspectives within the Group are discussed. Managers and employees alike can take the initiative at any time and run a development meeting on an ad hoc basis. The contents of these discussions are integrated into the ongoing human resources planning conferences to optimally develop employees in their own best interests and those of the company. Maintaining a constant dialog between the employees and management is a key concern. To this end, employees can use an application in the human resources system to provide or actively request feedback across hierarchical levels, a feature intended to further reinforce the feedback culture within the company.

Compensating employees transparently and competitively

Offering fair compensation in line with the market is an essential prerequisite for recruiting, retaining and motivating qualified employees. Covestro therefore combines a base salary reflecting the duties of a position with performance-related compensation components and extensive additional benefits to create an internationally competitive pay package, about which employees are informed transparently.

Tasks and responsibilities are classified on the basis of a job evaluation conducted without considering the individuals in the positions. In the area of managerial functions, an internationally recognized evaluation method is used if the job evaluation has not already been stipulated by a local collective agreement. Based on this classification, the amount of the base salary in all countries is aligned with regional market conditions. Regular compensation benchmarking is conducted to ensure this orientation is maintained for the long term.

Through the Group-wide bonus program (Covestro PSP) that has been in place since 2016, we have made it possible for our employees to participate in the success of the company each year with a uniformly calculated bonus payment. In addition, employees in managerial functions participate in the global compensation program , which bases payments on the Covestro share price, including in comparison to that of our competitors, and in this way rewards the long-term changes in the company’s share price. Furthermore, a global budget is available from which supervisors can promptly grant Individual Performance Awards to recognize outstanding conduct, commitment and performance of all employees with a view to our values.

See notes 21, “Other Provisions” in the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements

As in previous years, the stock participation program was once again offered in 2018 and provides employees with the opportunity to purchase Covestro stock at a discount. Over 50% of all eligible employees in Germany took advantage of this offer. This program was introduced in the United States in 2017. In the year under review, more than 40% of all eligible employees there made use of it. In 2018, Covestment was expanded to Hong Kong (China) in addition to Belgium, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Taiwan and Thailand. Approximately 75% of Covestro’s global workforce is thus able to purchase Covestro stock at discounted prices.

Promoting diversity and inclusion

Covestro provides a working environment in which a wide variety of skills, talents, experiences and beliefs are welcomed and treated with respect. We promote unconventional thinking, creative ideas, and open-mindedness. Covestro is advancing the topic of “Diversity and Inclusion" as an important part of its corporate culture. Targets and a greater understanding for diversity and inclusion are being further solidified in global action plans and regional implementation teams. We are confident that a diverse workforce will lead to outstanding innovation and employee commitment. The inclusion of different perspectives results in more balanced decisions and thus contributes significantly to Covestro’s success.

Creating the best working conditions and work models

The health, safety and professional and personal dedication of our employees are extremely important to us. Continuous monitoring of and improvements to occupational safety, combined with the range of programs and initiatives aimed at promoting health, serve as the fundamental principles for creating working conditions. Human resources management is supported in this task by the areas of (HSEQ) together with Law, Intellectual Property and Compliance (LIPC) and Corporate Audit. They assist Covestro in ensuring that all internal and relevant requirements of compliance and labor laws are met.

We also offer our employees modern working conditions so they can always be successful in a changing working environment and balance their professional interests with personal interests such as family life. In many countries, we exceed our legal obligations, e.g. by offering solutions such as flexible working hours, part-time working and working from home if this is compatible with operational requirements. A direct dialog with our employees is also particularly important to us. In this regard, we take into account national and international notification duties.

Our social responsibility as a company and an employer is based on our corporate values and our unreserved commitment to supporting and fostering human rights in our sphere of influence. At Covestro, social responsibility also includes creating working conditions that are based on mutual respect and appreciation among employees and, in particular ensure safety at the workplace. Our sustainable personnel policy also features a strong social safety net for our employees.

In addition, Covestro actively encourages awareness of healthy lifestyles. This is particularly true in regard to the challenges facing us as a result of demographic change and the raising of the retirement age in many countries.

We offer comprehensive workplace health management that is continuously expanded in response to employee surveys. The intention is to ensure that all employees have access to adequate and affordable health offerings such as sports programs, regular medical check-ups, help in overcoming illness and on-site medical care. The nature and scope of the health promotion programs differ around the world with regard to the respective country-specific level of development and access to national health systems. We offer our employees comprehensive measures aimed at preventing illness, in many cases exceeding statutory requirements.

New, flexible working environments for greater contact and communication

The work environment, contents and working methods are undergoing constant changes due to the digital transformation and the increasing level of momentum and complexity at our workplace. In order to meet these ever-changing requirements, Covestro provides a modern working environment. This applies particularly to cases such as moving into or creating new workspaces. Special emphasis is placed on a working environment that promotes learning and development while supporting agility and the exchange of knowledge. To achieve this, we provide not only the appropriate facilities, but also the IT infrastructure and media technology that works simply and intuitively.

We call this way of working our C3 methodology. It is intended to allow a change of perspective, creativity and effective collaboration to bring together all employees across team, department and national borders.

Our managers play a special role in this system. In addition to the established leadership standards and work methods, they are increasingly called upon to work together with their employees in the development of flexible and customized solutions for the purpose of leading Covestro into the new working environment at all levels, thus ensuring ongoing success.

PSP/Profit Sharing Plan
Covestro PSP is the Group’s short-term variable compensation system. It is based exclusively on the target achievement of the relevant Covestro performance indicators (core volume growth, FOCF, ROCE).
Prisma is a stock-based compensation program with a four-year performance period for senior executives and other managerial employees.
Stock participation program in which approximately 75% of all employees worldwide can acquire Covestro shares at a discount
HSEQ/health, safety, environment, quality
Health, safety, environment and quality