One goal – one team

In sports, you need foresight and knowledge to assemble the right team for the game. But what if the team consists of just under 90,000 members? At Audi, the Strategic HR Planning department helps the company find the best lineup for the future.

03/18/2021 Copy: C3 Creative Code and Content GmbH ― Photos: AUDI AG Reading Time: 6 min

Key Facts

  • Strategic personnel planning links corporate and HR strategies
  • Identifying risks early one thanks to gap analyses
  • Addressing the future of mobility with the right team


“We use a far-sighted approach when it comes to assembling the right team for the future of mobility. At Audi, the focus is on driving and promoting the transformation of mobility. And for that, Audi employees need the right skills, abilities and competences, or we will be surpassed by technological and social developments. But we don’t want to be the ones who are driven; we want to remain the ones who shape things.”

― Sebastian Döring, Head of Strategic HR Planning, HR Reporting

Transformation of the company

This is a major task and requires new ways of thinking. Why? Because for decades, the automotive industry’s growth trajectory was rather straightforward. Successful companies like Audi sold more vehicles and therefore needed more employees. These employees started out in already existing fields of competence. Audi knew exactly which professions were required to continue pursuing its successful path. A path lined with employees whose automotive manufacturing expertise is extremely high – after all, the people at the Four Rings are highly knowledgeable when it comes to developing, building and selling vehicles.

This path is based on the development rhythm of the automotive industry and must now adapt to the increasingly rapid pace of software development, for instance. On top of that, we are in the midst of a transformation in which cars are increasingly becoming much more than just mechanical objects. Never before have the level of digitalization of this product and the share of value added by software been so high or so important. At the same time, Audi is transitioning from a car manufacturer to a provider of connected and sustainable premium mobility – which is why the knowledge and skills of the teams must also transform.

Women in leadership positions

AUDI AG has set itself goals aimed at increasing or ensuring the proportion of women at all management levels and on the Supervisory Board. The share of women on the Supervisory Board amounted to approximately 30 percent as of December 31, 2020. To ensure this proportion, the Supervisory Board has established a target value of 30 percent, which went into effect on January 1, 2021, and will continue until 2025, and must be separately fulfilled by both shareholders and employees. The Supervisory Board resolved a formal target quota of 25 percent for the Board of Management also, starting January 1, 2021. There were two women on the Board of Management, also of AUDI AG at the end of 2020. AUDI AG is also striving to increase the proportion of women below the Board of Management. By the end of 2021, women should comprise 8 percent of the first management tier below the Board of Management and 16 percent in the second management tier. As part of efforts to support and facilitate the advancement of women pursuing leadership positions, AUDI AG promotes special programs such as “Sie und Audi,” in addition to flexible, innovative work models and diverse offers to enhance the compatibility of family life and work.

The workforce in figures
The workforce of the Audi Group decreased slightly in 2020 (2019: 90,783); the proportion of women, on the other hand, increased slightly (2019: 15.0 %). | 1) Excluding apprentices | 2) As of Dec. 31 of the year under review | 3) Average figures for the year

Closely interlocked

“At Strategic HR Planning, we address the question of what the workforce of the future might look like and outline how our transformation can succeed in the long term,” Sebastian Döring explains. “That’s why we have interlocked the HR strategy and corporate strategy more closely and systematically. We look at corporate decisions such as site occupancy, sales planning or even the personnel adjustments agreed under Audi.Zukunft and analyze them together with the divisions. And we naturally also take a close look at which new technologies or business models we’re investing in and which new jobs they will create in the future.” This means the direction in which the company is heading also influences how and in which direction the workforce needs to develop.

Strategic HR planning is an annually recurring process that incorporates new impetus from the strategy and comprises two elements: First of all, to obtain transparency of the work done at Audi, thousands of job profiles across the Group were analyzed, condensed into just over 120 job clusters (groupings) and applied to the current Audi workforce. Then the divisions drew up a target vision of their future personnel requirements based on the following three questions: Where should we invest, where should we no longer invest and what stays the same?

At Strategic HR Planning, we address the question of what the workforce of the future might look like and outline how our transformation can succeed in the long term.

Sebastian Döring, Head of Strategic HR Planning, HR Reporting

AUDI AG Ideas Program Implementation & savings in 2020
Audi benefits from the ingenuity of its employees. The Ideas Program of AUDI AG collects suggestions for optimizing existing processes.
AUDI AG Ideen-Programm  Realisierung & Einsparung 2020

Family and career? No problem!

Audi is strengthening the work-life balance. Employees can for instance work parttime or take caregiver leave to support family members. Many employees take up the option of parental leave. The company then facilitates their reintegration and gives employees on parental leave additional job training that makes it easier for them to resume their careers.

Structural data AUDI AG
The average length of service (2019: 17.9) increased slightly, the turnover rate (2019: 0.7) was down. | 1) Excluding apprentices | 2) As of Dec. 31 of the year under review | 3) Average figure for the year | 4) Turnover takes into account terminations by the employer and/or employee without a reinstatement guarantee | 5) With respect to indirect employees

Identifying risks at an early stage

Once the workforce and personnel requirements have been depicted as job clusters, Audi uses simulation software to perform gap analyses. Sebastian Döring: “These analyses compare the current job clusters with our future requirements so that we can identify surpluses and shortages at an early stage and make the situation transparent. We also keep an eye on demographic influences and identify where the current early-retirement program is taking effect, for example. In the action phase, the operational HR team takes over and plans staff changes and training based on our analyses.” All of this is done in close cooperation with the Works Council, which is an important partner throughout the entire process.


Equal opportunities – for everyone! Diverse backgrounds, abilities and skills are what make success possible in the first place. Audi ensures that people can unleash their maximum potential – at every level, regardless of cultural background or other characteristics. Audi’s goal is to create a diverse and inclusive community where gender makes no difference. Promotion of equal opportunity helps ensure continued economic success and reinforces social cohesion.

2) As of Dec. 31 of the year under review
2) As of Dec. 31 of the year under review

Developing and nurturing key competences


Andreas Zelzer, Head of Human Resources, Transformation, Top Management Ingolstadt

Andreas Zelzer, Head of Human Resources, Transformation, Top Management Ingolstadt

When putting together the right team, the focus is on providing transformational training for existing employees so that they can take on the identified jobs of the future (e.g. software developers or high-voltage technicians). In terms of recruiting, suitable candidates for positions are first sought internally at Audi and within the Volkswagen Group.

The Audi Akademie plays a central role in this competence development – not just in Germany, but with regard to all Audi staff and Group employees worldwide. In the long term, the plan is to roll out the strategic human resource planning system to international AUDI AG sites as well. After all, the Four Rings team is a global player.

Close collaboration between corporate and HR strategies enables the successful implementation of the transformation and the future-proof positioning of the company.

Andreas Zelzer, Head of Human Resources, Transformation, Top Management Ingolstadt

Audi employees with a part-time contract  2020
Audi creates leeway for various different life phases to take account of employees’ needs. This also includes modern working time models for employees.

Works Council and working world: opportunities and risks of future forms of work

One building block of the Audi corporate culture is the principle of employee participation, which is also legally based on the German Workers Co-determination and Works Constitution Acts. At Audi sites and subsidiaries worldwide, the employees are organized into independent, democratically legitimized trade unions and employee representative bodies. One advantage of co-determination from the employer’s point of view is that it motivates people – and only a motivated team will be able to achieve the transformation and build up expertise with the necessary innovative strength.


Main issues during the year under review included the joint efforts to overcome the coronavirus crisis, while focusing on protecting the health and safety of employees, and the further transformation of the company. In addition to these main issues, there was a particular focus in 2020 on further implementing Audi.Zukunft. With this general agreement, Audi is making a lasting commitment to greater efficiency, flexibility and, above all, job security with an extended employment guarantee until the end of 2029.


The sustained transformation of the automotive industry – digitalization, globalization, electrification, disruptive business models – presents major challenges for co-determination and thus for corporate culture. Works Council and trade union members, as well as the management at Audi, are called upon to take action in this area. The project “Vision Ingolstadt 2030: Digitalized work and the future of co-determination” led to the opportunity to take part in the EdA project – a joint initiative funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research entitled “Empowerment in the digital working world – developing sustainable concepts for digitalization.” A key instrument that has emerged from this project are the corporate practice laboratories. These allow the company to set up learning and experimentation spaces and to shape the transition to the digital working world together with the workforce.


One of these laboratories was launched under the umbrella of the #womendigit research lab and was tasked with examining how employees can be deployed more flexibly in shift work in the future. A cross-functional lab team is working together on this and, among other things, conducting a pilot project with part-time employees in clocked production. The aim is to develop and test innovative and sustainable concepts that will enable new ways of making working hours on the shop floor more flexible. Peter Mosch, General Works Council Chairman: “If we want to achieve more gender equality in the working world, then we have to break up old structures – including in production. To do this, we need persuasive arguments, staying power, participation and solidarity between the social partners. And the effort is paying off, as demonstrated by the new flexible working time model for people working shifts at the AUDI AG paint shop in Ingolstadt.”

Audi Akademie – developing and nurturing competences

A transformation calls for new key competences, since skills and training needs change fundamentally. The Audi Akademie is responsible for the training of apprentices, employees, specialists and leaders. It bundles the comprehensive range of training courses offered by the Audi Group and thus helps cement the company’s competence lead in collaboration with the divisions.


Audi invests up to EUR 80 million annually in training and developing its employees. During the year under review, the Audi Group held 13,927 (20,694) training events worldwide with 1.1 million (1.7 million) participant hours. In the same period, over 25,000 (over 33,000) employees attended one or more of the 7,291 (10,866) training events in Germany. 

Audi Report 2020


Audi Report 2020

How is Audi shaping the future? You will find answers in the Audi Report 2020, the first combined annual and sustainability report of AUDI AG.

Read more

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