200th new space pioneer at OHB in Bremen: This week, the space technology company welcomed its 200th new employee
Interview with Chief Human Resources Officer Klaus Hofmann / How student trainee Ronja Sauerland became a permanent employee
You have just welcomed Ronja Sauerland, the 200th new employee this year, to OHB in Bremen. How happy are you?
Klaus Hofmann: The opportunity of welcoming Ms. Sauerland with a bouquet of flowers was, of course, great - not only because the meeting was extremely pleasant, but also because she made a conscious decision to join OHB. Her enthusiasm for what we do as a company emerged during the time she spent with us as a student trainee.
What does the number 200 mean for the company?
Hofmann: Never before in its history has OHB recruited so many new employees at its Bremen office in a single year. If we also include the new recruits in Oberpfaffenhofen, we have had the privilege of welcoming a total of more than 300 new employees to OHB System AG in 2018. This figure says two things: firstly, that we offer career opportunities and are growing. And, secondly, that we have an attractive employer brand and offer sufficient appeal to draw this number of highly qualified specialists to OHB.
What are you and your HR colleagues doing to arouse the interest of young people like Ronja in OHB?
Hofmann: First of all, we had to rethink our strategy. Competition for the best minds has become so fierce that HR departments generally need to be more creative in their efforts to attract the top talents to their companies. OHB is undoubtedly an attractive employer. However, the boom in the engineering market and demographic changes have completely altered the employment market, forcing us to act with even greater foresight.
So what things does a modern employer have to be able to get across to potential recruitees?
Hofmann: On the one hand, the prospects for career advancement over the long term thanks to the opportunity of taking on interesting tasks and exploring fascinating matters. On the other hand, it is necessary to consider what the purpose of this task is and what contribution the individual can make.
What does OHB do to reach young people?
Hofmann: Human Resources works very closely with Corporate Communications to convey the right messages to the younger generation via digital channels and platforms. As a company, we regularly attend key trade fairs and events with very interactive formats. In order to arouse interest during the early phase of vocational orientation, we recently signed an official partnership agreement with the Ökumenisches Gymnasium school in Bremen with the aim of getting young people interested in space travel and simultaneously also in OHB from grade 10 onwards. Over the past few weeks, the school students have been attending a STEM camp at the company, while OHB engineers will be spending several weeks with the students next spring to give them lessons in aerospace and aeronautics.
How the student trainee assigned to the quality assurance department ended up becoming an OHB employee
By the way, Ronja Sauerland is a good acquaintance of OHB. During her studies, she worked as a student trainee in quality assurance at OHB, completing her master’s thesis at OHB in conjunction with the Institute of Space Systems at Braunschweig Technical University. The 26-year-old well remembers applying for a position with OHB: “I am fascinated by space travel and I enjoy working in a team. As a student trainee at OHB, I was able to put my own ideas into practice and derived a great deal of pleasure from doing that.” Dr. Rainer Hohmann, who now heads the 19-strong quality assurance team at OHB in Bremen, also confirms that the QA engineer’s ideas continue to be greatly welcomed: “I am very pleased that Ronja was so enthusiastic about our team’s work that she instantaneously applied for the position. I look forward to many more of her ideas and her contributions to our team.”
Klaus Hofmann, born in 1960, has been a member of the Board at OHB SE since 2015. Before that, he was Senior Vice-President of Wacker Chemie AG. Hofmann studied Business Administration at Munich University. He then worked as a research associate at the University of the German Armed Forces in Neubiberg. From 1992 to 2011, Hofmann held various positions at EADS/Airbus.