Diversity and equal opportunities

Diversity is one of our key values and a crucial factor for our future success. Our aim is to build the best teams worldwide that understand customer needs on the ground, know the local markets and understand and respect cultural differences. Our diversity management programme gives us a framework to capitalise on the opportunities presented by a varied workforce.


international managers

A German company with an international team: In 2011, over 70 percent of senior managers at Linde were from countries other than Germany, representing over 40 different nations in total.

At the end of 2011, The Linde Group employed over 50,000 people from more than 90 countries. Each member of our workforce brings unique perspectives, experiences and skills to the table. In our German companies alone, our workforce comprises people from over 60 different countries. In 2011, over 70 percent of senior managers at Linde came from countries other than Germany – representing over 40 different nations in total. At our sites in the emerging economies of China, India and South-East Asia, around 70 percent of managers come from the regions in question. More than 200 of our employees were seconded to affiliates abroad in 2011.

We further underscored our commitment to diversity in 2011 by signing the diversity charter, a corporate initiative in Germany that supports diversity in companies.

Equal opportunities

We create an environment that ensures positions are awarded to the best candidate, regardless of gender, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion, ideology, disability, age or sexual orientation. Remuneration at Linde is also based on each individual’s tasks, qualifications and performance. Violations of these standards can be reported to line managers, the appropriate HR department or our central Linde Integrity Committee at any time. Several HR activities helped promote equal opportunities and raise awareness of this issue across our company during the course of 2011.

  • We approved a new employee promotion directive outlining clear guidelines on diversity in the Eastern Europe and Middle East region.
  • In Canada, an equality audit carried out at Linde by the Canadian government yielded positive results.
  • In Africa, Linde Group member Afrox developed a new equal opportunities concept that addresses race and gender issues in line with existing corporative objectives.

In the future, we wish to make diversity a more integral aspect of our Global Leadership Development Circle (GLDC) programme. In 2011, Professor Ann-Kristin Achleitner, member of the Supervisory Board of Linde, held an executive presentation on career opportunities for women in technology companies. In addition, all first-line managers at Linde have to complete a diversity module as part of their training. We also expect our suppliers to uphold the principles of equal opportunities and equality of treatment. We refer to these standards in our Ethical-Legal Principles Procurement – a set of guidelines that govern our purchasing activities.

Gender equality

We identified a number of HR management priorities for 2011 and 2012, including the targeted development of female talent at management level. Although the percentage of women in The Linde Group has risen slightly over the past years, it has remained relatively constant at almost 20 percent. 23 percent of new hires in 2011 were women. In the same year, 11 percent of senior managers were women. The percentage of women in management positions has thus also increased slightly compared with previous years.

Proportion of women

The Linde Group










in percent









Total staff









Senior management positions









Executive Board









Supervisory Board









Our objective is to increase the proportion of women in management positions to between 13 and 15 percent by 2018. The number of women in our most important development programmes rose during the period under review: The proportion of female employees in the Global Leadership Development Circle rose from 6.5 percent in 2010 to 15.2 percent in 2011. In our Global Talent Circle programme, female participation rose to 26.8 percent (2010: 16.9 percent).

Supporting older employees

The proportion of Linde employees aged 50-plus has increased steadily in recent years and now accounts for a quarter of the entire workforce. As a result, we are developing measures aimed at maintaining the physical and mental performance of our employees.

Age structure of employees 2011

The Linde Group

Age structure of employees 2011 (pie chart)

In 2008, we created the work/life balance taskforce. It brings together employer and employee representatives to address issues such as the effects of demographic change. Recently, we also carried out a demographics analysis in Germany, the US, GB and China. Our Engineering Division introduced the ROCK (Retention of Critical Knowledge) programme to hold on to valuable knowledge that we might otherwise run the risk of losing when employees leave the company – to retire for instance.

> More on healthcare measures and pensions

Integrating severely disabled employees

Our commitment to equal opportunities includes supporting employees with severe disabilities or health issues. A Group works agreement governing the reintegration of employees who were not able to work for extended periods back into working life has been in place since 1995. A new Group works agreement on occupational reintegration management is currently under discussion. The aim is to find tailored solutions that enable individuals to return to work.

In our German companies, the percentage of employees with disabilities has remained constant over the years: In 2011, 266 people with severe disabilities were employed at Linde Germany. This corresponds to a ratio of 3.6 percent (2010: 3.5 percent). At around EUR 80,000, the value of orders that we placed with German workshops for people with disabilities remained at the previous year’s level. We also offer people with disabilities appropriate work opportunities at sites beyond Germany where there are no comparable legal regulations.

Key figures comparison

Global Compact

This page contains information that is relevant to the ten principles of UN Global Compact.

© The Linde Group 2012