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Diversity and inclusion

We believe that workforce diversity promotes innovation and better team performance. A good balance between different cultures, nationalities, and age groups as well as between male and female employees is conducive to our entrepreneurial success. We have therefore set ourselves the goal of furthering workforce diversity and including all employees in company operations in the best possible way (workforce inclusion). Increasing the proportion of women in management positions is important to us. Internationality and demography are two further areas of focus of our diversity activities. During the 2011-2012 period, we launched a wide variety of measures to achieve our goals.

New responsibilities – Chief Diversity Officer

Ultimate responsibility for diversity lies with Kai Beckmann, Executive Board Member and Chief Administration Officer. The Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) within Group Human Resources is responsible for strategically managing diversity. We established this new position during the 2011-2012 period. The CDO reports directly to the Chief Administration Officer.

In order to promote diversity to an even greater extent, in 2013 we plan to set up a Diversity Council comprising executives from all divisions and multiple Group functions. Its tasks will mainly include refining the diversity and inclusion strategy.

Systematically promoting women

We want to increase the percentage of female employees wherever they are underrepresented. In 2012, the 42% of the positions in our company were held by women. The ratio of female to male employees varied among the individual businesses, functions and regions. In 2012, women made up 46% of the workforce in Pharmaceuticals, 37% in Chemicals, and 42% in Group functions. In North America, 46% percent of the workforce is female, Europe 45%, the Emerging Markets 37% and Rest of World 37%. At 51%, the percentage of research and development positions held by women is highest, followed by administrative positions with 50%. The lowest percentages of women are in production (34%) and infrastructure (30%).

Goal 2016


Management positions held by women

In 2011, we decided to increase percentage of management positions held by women to 25%-30% by 2016. In the same year, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany joined with all 29 other DAX 30 companies in signing a voluntary commitment to increase the proportion of management positions held by women. The participating companies report on their progress every year.

At local level, we have implemented numerous measures designed to increase the percentage of women in the entire workforce and to specifically increase the number holding management positions. For one, we facilitate the work-life balance for our employees in many countries, for instance by offering flexible working hours and childcare options. Furthermore, women benefit from special advanced training measures, seminars, mentoring programs and networks. During the 2011-2012 period, we conducted the “Women in Mentoring” program. Altogether, 15 women took part, with each being mentored by a female executive. Since 2000, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany has been supporting local mentoring programs such as the "Cross-Company Mentoring” industry initiative or the “Hessisches Mentorinnen Netzwerk für Frauen in Naturwissenschaft und Technik”, a local German initiative. In order to promote exchanges among women in management positions within the Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, we initiated an internal “Women in Leadership” program at corporate headquarters in Darmstadt. In addition, we set up the Group-wide “International Women’s Network” in 2012. Our Chief Diversity Officer and the Executive Board Member with responsibility for Human Resources engage in regular exchanges with these groups.

The overall percentage of management positions held by women was 24% in 2012. The percentage was higher at the legal entities than at corporate headquarters in Darmstadt; it is also higher in Pharmaceuticals than in Chemicals. In certain Group functions such as IT, women account for a lower proportion of management positions. The results in the 2011-2012 period show that we are not far from achieving our strategic goal of 25%-30% women in management positions by 2016. In 2013, we will launch further local and global measures to promote women in management with a special focus on women with little or no management experience.

Management positions held by women

Management positions held by women (bar chart)

Promoting internationality

As a global company, we promote the international and intercultural diversity of our workforce. People from a total of 121 different nations work at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Only 26% of our workforce is from Germany. Altogether our executive staff includes representatives of 57 nationalities, and 61% of our management positions were held by non-German citizens.

In order to promote the internationality of our workforce, we pursue two goals when making appointments to new positions. Firstly, we aim to increase the number of local employees at all sites across all hierarchical levels. And secondly, we want to offer our employees international development opportunities. Furthermore, we help our employees to acquire intercultural competencies. For this purpose, we promote intercultural training courses and international teamwork throughout Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. We offer special cultural immersion courses to executives working outside of their home countries. This includes for example language courses and international networks.

Demographic change

In Germany, several other EU countries and the United States, we must prepare ourselves for demographic change. In these countries, the average age of our employees exceeds 40 – and we assume that this average will continue to increase. In Europe, we are using various programs to address these demographic challenges. We seek young professionals for our company in order to meet our long-term human resources needs. We also promote the employability of our workforce and are active in the area of employee retention. This includes adapting workplaces to the needs of older people and establishing a health management program to maintain their ability to do their job. One example is the health management program in cooperation with the company health insurance fund at the Darmstadt site in Germany. Employees older than 40 receive special support in the form of the “Leben nach Herzenslust (Living Life to the Full)” program when starting or resuming sports activities.

Monitoring and controlling

Each quarter, we collect data on gender distribution, nationality and demographics for internal evaluation purposes. We analyze these data at divisional and Group function level, as well as for key countries and groups of young professionals and executives. We present selected data in our Annual Report and Corporate Responsibility Report as well as jointly with the other 29 DAX 30-listed companies.

Training and sensitizing employees

The topics of diversity and inclusion are integral components of all training courses for Human Resources staff. For instance in 2012, we informed our international recruiting team on the relevance of these topics to us and trained them accordingly. The aim of the workshop was to develop a common understanding of diversity and to discuss measures to adapt our recruiting activities. In addition, we have added the topics of diversity and inclusion to the curricula of our management courses offered to all employees with leadership responsibility.

Preventing discrimination

Our commitment to diversity also means that we do not tolerate discrimination anywhere in the world within our company – whether based on age, ethnic origin, skin color, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or disability.

This rule is defined in our Code of Conduct. Cases of discrimination can be reported to supervisors or to Group Human Resources, Legal or Compliance. Employees can also report discrimination cases anonymously via the Speak-up Line, a global, toll-free telephone hotline. Our compliance organization is responsible for processing the cases. Confirmed cases can lead to disciplinary measures or consequences stipulated by labor law. In 2011 and 2012, two cases of suspected discrimination were reported via the Speak-up Line. However, a review of the cases revealed that our regulations were not breached in either of them.

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Goals: Diversity and inclusion











Strategic goal



Status in 2011 and 2012


Increase the percentage of management positions (Global Grade 14+) held by women to 25%-30%

Increase the percentage of management positions held by women through numerous initiatives that move women into those positions

End of 2016

23% of management positions were held by women in 2011; 24% were held by women in 2012, a 2% increase over 2010.

Legend: Achieved In progress Not achieved New goal


Publication of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

In the United States and Canada the subsidiaries of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operate under the umbrella brand EMD.


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