In recognition of responsible and sustainable business activities, four mid-sized companies have been selected for the IKOM Award for Employers of the Future. The award, initiated by students at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), is presented jointly by the student group IKOM with TUM and the Bavarian Industry Association (vbw).
When looking at potential employers, students are increasingly interested in the ethical and sustainable dimension of their approach to business. But many companies with a strong sense of corporate responsibility often go unnoticed by graduates, especially small and medium sized enterprises. Consequently, IKOM, a group that brings together students and companies at TUM, created Germany’s first student award for employers in 2018. The group presents the award annually, in cooperation with TUM and vbw, with the Bavarian State Minister for Economic Affairs, Hubert Aiwanger, acting as the honorary patron.
The selection criteria for nominees are a focus on values and sustainability, a commitment to Germany as a place for doing business, entrepreneurial continuity, and opportunities for recent graduates to start their careers and move up the ladder. For this year’s third edition - for which the ceremony was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic - the jury, made up of students, researchers, business people and media representatives, selected the following winners:
In the category "Companies with up to 250 employees"
Aqua-concept offers products and services for water treatment. The jury stated: "The company has improved water quality and hygiene in Germany and Europe on a sustainable basis since 1991. Aqua-concept has proved that growth potential exists especially in environmentally friendly niche markets." The jury also praised the company for demonstrating social responsibility by supporting aid organizations such as the SOS Children’s Villages.
In the category "Companies with 250-500 employees"
SCANLAB manufactures laser components used in numerous sectors such as the automotive and food industries and medical technology. The company impressed the jury through its combination of innovation and social awareness. This is reflected in flat hierarchies, a spirit of partnership, and the services and amenities offered to employees such as a multi-functional sports area, a bicycle repair service and a music practice room.
In the category "Companies with 500-1500 employees"
Schreiner produces tamper-evident and forgery-proof labels and functional components used in various areas, especially healthcare and mobility. The jury made special mention of the company’s strong commitment to Bavaria as a place to do business. The family-owned business has operated in its Bavarian home for nearly 70 years despite an expanding international presence and offers its employees many opportunities for advancement.
In the category "Companies with more than 1,500 employees"
RATIONAL is regarded as a global market leader for commercial kitchen equipment. The jury had special praise for the company’s focus on providing products that enable users to prepare healthy foods while conserving resources. In addition, it has an outstanding corporate culture: "The employees are fully integrated as ’in-house entrepreneurs’ and regarded as important drivers of innovation who are supported and developed according to their individual needs."
"Many companies, especially in the Mittelstand sector, are already showing how ecology, economic efficiency and social responsibility can be fruitfully combined," says Alexander Karandjulov, project manager of the IKOM Award. "With the awards, we present the most successful examples and encourage our fellow students to take a look at small and midsized companies, too, when they enter the job market."
Commenting on the announcement of this year’s award-winning companies, vbw managing director Bertram Brossardt says: "The Bavarian economy needs qualified young talent, especially in the sector of mathematics, informatics, natural sciences and technology. High-profile initiatives such as the IKOM Award offer companies the opportunity to present themselves to potential applicants as attractive employers. The employers can win over the young talent with their commitment in areas such as sustainability, corporate values and loyalty to their regional roots. Consequently, we are only too pleased to assume the role of primary sponsor for the IKOM Award."
"IKOM brings together sustainable companies and value-conscious students. As a result, it not only raises awareness of role models. It also acts as a role model itself - for social engagement, entrepreneurship and ecological responsibility," says TUM President Thomas F. Hofmann. "That makes IKOM a student initiative that we as a university are delighted to support."