Equal opportunities and diversity

At our institute, we approach many tasks – whether in research or administration – as a team. In our teams, people of different genders, ages, cultures and disciplines work closely together. Equality for all employees is not just a matter of course – it forms the basis for good teamwork and ultimately for the success of our institute.

We consider high-level positions for women in science and appealing, family-friendly working conditions to be the cornerstones of equality. That’s why we have implemented a series of measures to advance and strengthen equal opportunities.

Career development for women

Neither STEM, nor science as a whole, should be allowed to be male-dominated. To empower women in science and natural science professions, we play an active role in several support programs:

Fraunhofer TALENTA” is a program which provides training opportunities and professional development for women at all stages of their careers. Four young scientists at Fraunhofer IPM are currently participating in the TALENTA program (learn more)

Girls' Day: To reinforce the idea among young people that scientific and technical professions are not only for men, we regularly participate in Girls' Day (girlsday.de)

Family or a scientific career? A false dichotomy!

Children or a career? We are actively committed to resolving this dilemma. To ensure that a scientific career can be reconciled with family life, we offer our employees:

flexible working hours

  • Flextime, part-time and customized working time arrangements as well as the option to work from home – regardless of your career level.
  • Daycare and pre-school places: Thanks to partnerships with several daycare centers, we are reliably able to provide access to childcare.
  • The institute’s own parent-and-child office provides relief when childcare responsibilities have to be taken on at short notice. Parents can supervise their children in child-friendly rooms while at work.
© supawat bursuk/Adobe Stock

Reliable career planning

At a stage in life when the next career step coincides with starting a family, a certain amount of security is needed. As a non-university scientific institution, Fraunhofer usually offers fixed-term work contracts in the early stages of a career. Nonetheless, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has drawn up guidelines to ensure our fixed-term employment policy is employee-friendly:

  • Early and transparent decisions about a contract extension or conversion into a permanent contract (conversation about future prospects held no later than six months before the planned end of the contractual relationship)
  • Longest fixed terms for scientific employees are six to a maximum of eight years

Dual career: if you relocate in order to start work at Fraunhofer IPM, sooner or later your partner may also have to follow a new professional path. We have an extensive network with other scientific institutions in Freiburg. It is not unheard of that we successfully help an employee’s partner start their scientific career nearby.   

Putting equality into practice

At the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, equal opportunities do not just exist on paper. The concrete implementation of our standards for the equal and fair treatment of all employees is anchored in various structures within the Gesellschaft:

  • There are contact persons on hand at all Fraunhofer institutes for any equality issues. They are tasked with ensuring and monitoring the implementation of equal-opportunity concepts.
  • Avoiding the gender pay gap: All contracts and pay scaling at our institutes are based on the TvöD (public service wage agreement). This collective agreement guarantees equal and fair remuneration for all employees, based on their experience level and area of work (bmi-bund.de)