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21 December 2023

German companies excel in employer branding, but need to improve sustainability information

The latest Webranking of Germany's 64 largest companies presents a detailed analysis of their online performance. The companies display strengths in areas like career information and leadership presentation. However, the need for improvement in sustainability communication is still evident.

Freja NilssonProject manager, Webranking

With an average score of 51.7 points, these companies perform well compared to the European average of 47. While German companies demonstrate strengths in various areas, particularly in career information and work-life balance, sustainability remains an important area for development to meet stakeholder expectations and communicate long-term viability and ethical standing.

When summarising this year's German results, we notice the following:

  • Career information: German companies outperform their European peers in presenting career-related information, fulfilling 59% of the criteria, compared to the European average of 51%.
  • Leadership and Management Presentation: 37% of German companies present information about their leadership and management approach, giving insight into company values and culture.
  • Sustainability information falls behind: German companies lag slightly behind the European average in sharing sustainability-related information, with improvements needed in stakeholder identification and materiality analysis.

Careers information continues to outperform

The German companies continue to perform better than their European peers when presenting career-related information on their websites. The companies, on average, fulfil 59% of the criteria in this section, while the European average is 51%. By fulfilling more of the criteria for career-related information German companies demonstrate higher transparency.

This transparency is essential as it provides potential employees with clear insights into what they can expect regarding career opportunities and company culture. This openness is especially beneficial in attracting talent who value clear and detailed information about potential employers.

65% of German companies provide detailed introductions to various career areas available within their companies, significantly more than the 48% European average. This is positive as it helps job seekers understand the breadth of opportunities available, aiding them in finding roles that align with their skills and interests. It can also help position companies as diverse and dynamic workplaces.

Merck Kgaa offer a clear overview of the available roles in their different business sectors, including employee testimonials and news.

Another strong area for the companies is when it comes to presenting their leadership and management approach, where 37% of the companies present this information. This gives prospective employees a sense of the company's values and leadership style, which is essential for those looking to work in environments where they can thrive and align with the company's values.

Henkel offer a dedicated page explaining their leadership commitments from different perspectives, including how they get feedback from employees.

The companies are also good at highlighting how they support their employees in achieving a good work-life balance by presenting their approach to flexible working hours. 52% of the German companies present this, while 29% of the European companies present this. This is a strong selling point, especially in today’s workforce, which increasingly emphasises balancing professional and personal life. By highlighting their support for flexible working arrangements, these companies are more likely to attract and retain employees who value such benefits.

SAP present comprehensive information about the benefits they offer their employees, including an explanation of their own flexible working model.

Sustainability a key area for improvement

While German companies perform well in several areas, they fall slightly short of the European average regarding sharing sustainability-related information. This is a point of concern, as sustainability information is increasingly becoming a key consideration for stakeholders in evaluating a company's long-term viability and ethical standing.

An example of an area for improvement is presenting information about who they see as their main stakeholders. Only 39% of German companies specify who their main stakeholders are in their sustainability sections. By presenting this information, a company could demonstrate their understanding of its impacts and responsibilities towards different groups, ranging from investors and employees to communities and the environment. Clear identification of stakeholders helps companies to communicate more effectively and build trust with these groups.

The materiality analysis is another area where German companies show room for improvement, with only 26% presenting this aspect. A materiality analysis helps companies identify and prioritise the sustainability issues that are most relevant to their business and stakeholders. This analysis is essential for effective sustainability reporting, as it guides companies in focusing their efforts and resources on areas with the greatest impact. By not adequately presenting this analysis, these companies miss an opportunity to showcase their strategic approach to sustainability. They may fail to communicate their commitment to addressing critical environmental and social issues.

Beiersdorf present a detailed page where they clearly explain how they engage with their different stakeholder groups.

German top performers

Deutsche Telekom: Deutsche Telekom are back as the German top performer for the first time in ten years (since 2013-2014). They have improved their score by 4.4 points since last year and perform well in Careers, Sustainability and Governance.

BASF: BASF have dropped one placement since last year and now come on second place instead of first. This is because their score has dropped by 4.6 points. However, they still perform well and are strong in Sustainability, Reporting and Careers.

Fresenius: Fresenius have climbed one placement and are now in the German top three. They perform well in Careers, Reporting and Press.

Deutsche Bank the best climber

The German company that have improved their score the most since last year are Deutsche Bank. They have improved their score by 13 points, climbing from 57th place to 45th place on the German list. Well done!

Top 10 - Germany

1Deutsche TelekomTelecommunications72.8
3FreseniusHealth Care67.6
4ContinentalAutomobiles and Parts64.6
8BMWAutomobiles and Parts62.4
9Hugo BossConsumer Products and Services61.1
10BayerHealth Care60.8


  • Freja Nilsson, Project manager Webranking