The global number of employees on a yearly average was 13,016 employees in 2020, compared to 13,348 in the previous year. The annual average number of employees saw a slight decline due to short-time work programs or comparable foreign schemes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Personnel expenses decreased overall by 8.9% in 2020, from €640.5 million to €583.7 million. On average, personnel expenses per employee were €44.8 thousand, compared to €48.0 thousand in the previous year.
As of December 31, 2020, the number of employees was 14,374, compared to 14,332 in the previous year. This represents a slight increase of 0.3% in the number of employees compared to the previous year. The development in the number of employees per area is as follows:
The past financial year has been marked by the extraordinary challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, we have managed to successfully master all that 2020 threw at us, adapting locally to the new conditions as quickly as possible - with our main focus being on the well-being of our employees. The development of our organization through digital transformation and the establishment of an agile learning platform and culture provided the basis for this rapid adaptability. This was another reason why we were able to keep our business operating as smoothly as possible during the various phases of extensive social distancing measures imposed by governments around the world and the expansion of existing mobile working (working from home) arrangements within the workforce. The provision of additional IT equipment and targeted support for the mental well-being of our employees during the crisis were key elements. During these COVID-19 times, of course particular emphasis was placed on creating a safe working environment and avoiding financial cuts for our employees. Thanks to the strong feeling of solidarity and a high level of engagement among our employees, we feel well-positioned to continue along our path to further growth.
To further expand our position in the market, it is crucial to have highly qualified and motivated staff whom we can retain for the long term. Particularly in this constantly changing and increasingly complex environment, the creativity and innovative strength of our employees are an important element in ensuring our competitiveness and facilitating growth in the future.
We use digital platforms and social media for our target group-specific, individual recruiting measures, as well as our career website, to attract external candidates. A range of initiatives at universities gives us the opportunity to approach potential employees and identify suitable candidates. Extensive networks of qualified applicants and candidate pools help us to quickly fill vacancies. In the competitive labor market, being an attractive employer and being perceived as such by current and potential employees are of critical importance. Top employer rankings and multiple awards evidence PUMA's attractiveness.
Digitalization and the associated global simplification and acceleration of business processes were driven forward in 2020. Since 2017, we have been using the “Workday” software solution for almost all personnel processes. This software provides employees and managers with the processes and tools required for daily personnel management. In addition, easy-to-use dashboards provide managers with the information and data-driven insights they need for planning and management. The analysis of our centrally available global data provides a solid basis for strategic decisions and measurable results.
Our aim is to develop our employees in an international environment and at the same time successfully and sustainably retain them in our company. Based on the Workday software, a systematic succession plan is created as part of talent management in addition to the performance assessment and target-setting. We identify the talent available within the group as part of annual performance reviews and global talent conferences and foster talent development based on individual development plans. This type of talent management means that we can offer our employees attractive career and development opportunities. Over the past year, we continued to fill the majority of our key positions through internal promotions or horizontal moves around the world.
In order to cope with the dynamic changes in the market and be successful in the long run, it is essential that our workforce has the necessary expertise to guarantee continuous growth and market competence, particularly in times of major transformation and extensive change. We ensure this through the ongoing professional and personal development of our employees. For this reason, we expanded the range of training that we provide, which includes a number of online and offline training courses and workshops, either standardized or tailored to individual needs, even further in 2020. With “LinkedIn Learning” and “Good Habitz” our employees have been able to access more than 16,500 different online training courses since the beginning of last year. A wide range of learning categories are available for self-directed personal and professional development. Learning content covering topics such as mental well-being, resilience, mindfulness and emotional stability in particular helped us as an employer to provide the best possible support to our employees around the world in this exceptional situation. Due to social distancing measures, face-to-face training was largely replaced with digital options so that we could continue to offer these courses.
With a range of apprenticeships and dual-study programs, as well as study-related internships, we offer adequate entry-level and development opportunities for talented individuals at all levels. In addition, we actively promote the systematic development of our professionals and managers.
All managers worldwide complete our internal global leadership training program, consisting of the ILP (“International Leadership Program”) and ILP². In this way, we ensure a common understanding of leadership globally throughout the company. The program helps to develop participants over a longer period, provides them with the opportunities to apply the newly acquired knowledge in practice between the individual modules and to share knowledge with other seminar participants to learn from each other. They receive intensive training and coaching, including interactive learning, role play simulations and best practice learning, as well as joint projects. The digitalization and the changing work environment lead to new challenges for managers in particular. The key topics are therefore coaching, mindful leadership and agile working methods. The training course “from employee to manager” prepares staff that are about to take on a management role for the first time. In addition to the training module, the program also offers individual coaching.
Using Speed Up and Speed Up², we conduct development programs for employees at different levels. Various groups consisting of top talents are given intensive preparation for the next step in their careers by taking on interdisciplinary projects and tasks, targeted training courses, mentoring and coaching, as well as job rotations. Increased visibility to upper management, the creation of cross-functional cooperation and establishing a strong network are also important components of this program.
The trust-based collaboration with the Works Councils is an important part of our corporate culture. In 2020, the European Works Council of PUMA SE represented employees from 13 European countries and had 16 members. The German Works Council of PUMA SE has 15 members and represents the employees of the PUMA Group in Germany. A designated member of the Works Councils represents the interests of employees with disabilities.
We at PUMA offer our employees a targeted and competitive compensation system, which consists of several components. In addition to a fixed base salary, the PUMA bonus system, profit-sharing programs and various social benefits form part of an attractive and performance-based compensation system. In addition, we offer our employees comprehensive services in the areas of further development, employee motivation, health management and wellbeing. We also offer long-term incentive programs for the senior management level that honor the sustainable development and performance of the business. The bonus system is transparent and globally standardized. Incentives are exclusively linked to company goals. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, members of senior management around the world voluntarily gave up part of their base salary and the entire long-term incentive for 2020 to improve cash flow and earnings. To reward the special efforts made by our employees in this challenging time, we also gave a PUMA product voucher to all PUMA Group employees worldwide. This is particularly beneficial to employees in the lower pay grades.