Two OHB employees working on satellites in a clean room

Working in aerospace – for a large group or for a mid-size company?

Employees at OHB don’t have to choose between working for a large group or for a mid-sized companies as they have the best of both worlds. This opens up scope for personal development as well as enormous career opportunities – and not only for career beginners.


OHB is one of the top three European aviation and space companies. A listed company, it is an important player with many exciting big-ticket contracts awarded by private and institutional clients. Galileo, Meteosat, SAR-Lupe and ExoMars – the list of projects is long and diverse. OHB has roughly 2,500 employees around the world. Yet, it has its origins in the “German Mittelstand”. Employees can benefit from the advantages of both worlds. Sigrid Pander, Marion Scott and Leena Busche from Human Resources describe what working at OHB is like and what sets OHB apart.



Working at OHB can be summarized in three words: We.Create.Space. This is simultaneously the shortest summary of the aviation and space group’s history:

We – these are all the OHB employees throughout the entire Group and at all its locations.

Create – signifies that employees work on new things that are unprecedented. Every single step is at the cutting edge. Ever since its earliest days, OHB has been a space pioneer and is committed to preserving this pioneering spirit. For this reason, it offers employees opportunities for implementing creative ideas.

Space – This is what the Group’s business is all about : space applications, satellite systems, rocket drives, exploration missions and new paths in life sciences.

A mid-sized company can also be a group

OHB’s origins go back to a mid-size company that has steadily grown. Since going public in 2001, it has evolved into one of the most successful European space companies, working on projects for ESA among others. Within the OHB Group, some 2,500 employees based in Europe and South America work on innovative technology projects and scientific studies for exploring and utilizing space.

Innovation and creative particularly thrive in flexible structures

What sets OHB apart from other companies in the space industry? “We offer greater flexibility,” explains Marion Scott, head of HR Policies and HR Controlling at OHB System AG. “We don’t have the rigid structures and processes of large groups, where clearly defined process steps must be followed for just about everything.”

Our employees have far greater scope and can actively exert influence on processes. Every employee is encouraged to make a contribution and is able to articulate their own ideas. Whenever possible, employees are assigned to projects in which they can develop and unleash their own potential.


“OHB is a very good place for people who don’t need rigid structures for everything but prefer flexibility and initiative.”

Marion Scott, OHB System AG


This is a good fit for many engineers who have a scientific background, appreciate being able to work independently and do not like rigid structures. The space industry is characterized by project work. For OHB, a project is normally something unique and unprecedented. “Engineers operate at the frontiers of what is technically feasible. That is why the path forward is not always clear,” explains Sigrid Pander, HR Director People & Organization Development at OHB System AG.


“Developing your own solutions and entering uncharted territory - if that’s how you like to work, then OHB is the place for you.”

Sigrid Pander, OHB System AG


What OHB expects of candidates. In addition to their professional qualifications, they should be able to work on a structured and autonomous basis. They must like thinking outside of the box and seeing the big picture. Conversely, this means that not everything is defined in advance and that there is not a standard form for every aspect of work. The technology is demanding and so is the project management. If you are willing to accept this challenge and actively contribute you have a good chance of success.

The pioneer approach: don’t ask, just do it!

OHB’s credo has always been: “Don’t ask, just do it!” This is deliberate and basically also the typical attitude of a pioneer: I have the courage to assemble my team. I try out new things, make mistakes but learn from them. The employees have completely different relations with each other, going far beyond their own team. “All employees, all teams – and ultimately the entire company – benefit from this form of collaboration, this attitude,” explains Marion Scott.



We. Create. Space. Get off to a flying start at one of Europe’s most successful space companies.

Career portal

Scope for development for all employees at OHB

Obviously, OHB also has employees who need clearer structures to realize their full potential to optimum effect. This places particular demands on managers, who must define the appropriate framework for this to happen. “That’s obvious. If you look at OHB’s development and how broad our footprint has become with all our affiliates, you can see that we require many different types of employees. They all find scope for developing their careers at OHB,” says Leena Busche, HR Specialist Recruiting at OHB System AG.

Job changes within the Group are supported

OHB’s growth and its present size are seen as an advantage by many job candidates. This also includes the possibility of taking on international assignments. Many people from Germany join OHB as they are fascinated by the development of satellite technology. This particularly applies to the company’s facilities in Bremen and Oberpfaffenhofen. However, far more options are available thanks to the affiliates. “One employee joined the company as a project manager in Bremen, working in a cross-sectional function for many years, and has now shifted to OHB affiliate LuxSpace to take on a responsible management position. Despite this, he is still part of the group,” says Sigrid Pander.


“There are different possibilities for rotating within the company and for assuming a new position without leaving us.”

Sigrid Pander, OHB System AG

The scope for such career change is very much in demand. This particularly applies to “Generation Y” when they graduate: For the most part, they speak English or other languages well, have already spent a semester or completed an internship in another country and expect to be able to continue applying their knowledge. This possibility is a genuine asset, similar to what is possible in a large group, even though OHB only has around 2,500 employees.


Careers can progress very quickly

This gives university graduates individual scope to develop. They join the company, gain experience step by step and develop their careers. Employees can hone their profiles and have the assurance of being seen. OHB’s Oberpfaffenhofen facility, for example, has more than 400 employees.


Most of the employees are known to management and HR so they can rely on being seen. This means that their own career can take off very quickly: A department management leaves the company. This is followed by talks and a visit to the assessment center, and, before you know it, a young employee has assumed a management positions in only a few years. This contrasts sharply with a large group, where careers often progress through predefined stages.


“If you can use media, suspend time and space that enable joint activities with other places, you don’t have to move anywhere else.”

Leena Busche, OHB System AG

In short, what are the reasons for applying for a position with OHB?

Employees can find both aspects: the family-like feeling of being part of a mid-size company with flat hierarchies and short paths but also large structures with departments, projects and an international footprint. Employees are able to work flexibly and make a positive contribution in many areas. The company is based on its employees’ motivation and initiative. This provides ideal conditions for experts who like to structure their own activities and work autonomously but who have an appreciation of the “big picture” and do not shun responsibility.

Further articles on careers at OHB

200th new space pioneer at OHB in Bremen in 2018

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.

A career leap into a new experience

Changing locations, building a career: this is also possible at a family-run company like OHB. The OHB SE group of companies now encompasses nine business locations, some of them with several hundred employees and correspondingly varied opportunities for advancement.

By moon rover to a job at OHB

The mood is upbeat. The “dualers”, the name given to the five young men at the university, are in excellent spirits, tinkering around and programming several LEGO vehicles – small moon rovers which form part of their training, as it later turns out. The dual study course in Specialist IT Application Development at OHB in Bremen began with five students on September 1, 2018. Fynn Hagen is one of the young space pioneers. The 18-year-old has just successfully stood for the post of Youth and Trainee Representative and ventures a look back for us at his first three months as a “dualer”.

Read more
Fateful phone calls and happy events

At the age of 22, Mahmoud Elsirafy was living the good life enjoying his vacation relaxing on the beach at Alexandria with a couple of friends. Then his father Ahmed rang and turned our Bremen-based colleague’s already very eventful life upside down.

Read more
From the big city to the jungle

The long winter had us in its grip. Just the right time to take a look at a job in the tropics. Some 1,400 people work at the spaceport in French Guiana. One of these is the new Galileo Launch Campaign Manager, Dr Alain Pajonk. We. Create. Space.

Read more
From the self-made satellite to the OHB team

There that can be no doubt that it’s never too early to start something new. And that applies equally to things that are the size of a soft drink can. What do space, encouraging young talents and a soft drink can have in common? The answer is the CanSat competition which OHB is supporting again this year again for the fifth time.

I am an international person

Moin! Servus! Salut! Morning! Ciao! At OHB in Bremen, colleagues greet in many different languages in the morning. And the internationality of the company and the workforce is for many not only a pleasant side effect of the job, but even one of the main reasons to work for the space company with its headquarters in Bremen. We. Create. Space.

Read more
We.OHB - Part 1: It's important to have a vision!

Antonella Sgambati welcomes all visitors to her office with a warm smile. A system engineer with Italian roots, she has been with OHB’s Human Spaceflight Department (HSF) for seven years and clearly derives a great deal of pleasure from her job. After all, she deals with a lot of other people, a fact that is also implied in the name of her department, namely “Human Spaceflight”.

We.OHB - Part 2: Excellent job opportunities for career beginners

After one and a half years with the company, Felix Hübner already feels like an “old hand” at OHB. This should not come as any surprise given that in 2018 alone about 200 new recruits joined OHB’s Bremen headquarters. The 29-year-old software developer completed his doctorate in computer science parallel to his full-time job in the Software Verification & Validation department.

We.OHB - Part 4: It’s fascinating to see all the things that have been achieved at this company over the last 37 years

When Anna-Maria Kollenbrandt entered the foyer of OHB’s headquarters in Bremen on the day of her job interview and saw the various exhibits, her enthusiasm was immediately aroused. Between the 1:1 SAR-Lupe and Galileo models, she was immediately infected by space fever. That was five years ago and the 33-year-old has been working at OHB in the Procurement Management department for various satellite missions ever since.

We.OHB - Part 5: I like the spirit at OHB

Why does a graduate in aerospace engineering at the University of Stuttgart come to Bremen? “Because OHB offers me a major advantage over other places in Germany in which space companies are based. Bremen is a very interesting and liveable city. And when I first started here, I found exactly the task that appealed to me because of the mix of technology and management elements,” is how Marek Dittmar answer.

We.OHB - Part 11: Checking quality with a passion

Her mission: Checking, testing, inspecting. Recognizable by: A green lab coat. Her name: Viktoria Schöneich. In her green lab coat, the graduate aerospace engineer regularly mixes with the AIT employees in the OHB integration hall and checks whether all the work and production steps meet the high quality standards required.

We.OHB - Part 12: Instructor with a soft spot for a screwdriver

The mood is casual. He leans back in his office chair as far as the backrest will go. Laid back. And who’s sitting in the office chair? Christian Fischer, head of the OHB training department. He took over the department at the beginning of the year and likes to work in a “busy” atmosphere, pragmatically and with humor. His mission is to address the shortage of skilled workers and to provide OHB with highly trained employees.

Where Tut sends off sparks

Just under 60 people are currently working on a mini-launcher design at start-up company Rocket Factory Augsburg GmbH, which was founded in 2018 and will soon be complementing OHB’s portfolio.

“It’s not a man’s world”

The “Technical Computer Science” dual study course at OHB provides an entry into the space industry. Female applicants are particularly welcome at the Bremen-based space and technology company. This is reflected in the fact that the proportion of women pursuing technical careers at OHB has risen over the last few years. Seniz Yildirim is also with the OHB Group. She works as a lead software engineer and would like to see more women in technical careers.