Employee relations

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Our approach to shaping employee relations

We pursue dialog-oriented employee relations throughout the Group and engage in trust-based, constructive collaboration with employee representatives and unions. Our works councils, central works councils, and Group Works Council represent the interests of our employees at our Group in Germany.

Our partner representing the employees’ interests on a European level is the European Works Council (EWC). We also have executive staff representation committees and representatives for employees with disabilities at the unit, company, and Group levels. Even in non-European nations like the United States, all of our employees enjoy the right to form and join labor unions. As the underlying laws and contracts vary from country to country, co-determination matters are managed locally, and always together with trade unions and employees’ representatives. Group management is generally involved in all major issues.

We have set Group-wide uniform standards for managing employee relations, as defined in our Guiding Principles, in our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Group Policy, and in our Code of Human Rights. Our previous policy statement “Code of Human Rights & Social Principles” was revised extensively in the year under review. This Code includes our global voluntary commitment to safeguarding the freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining (in compliance with national law in each case). The new structure of the Code of Human Rights is based on the requirements of the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz – LkSG). The Employee Relations Policy was also discontinued as an independent document and integrated in the policy statement. Comprehensive information about compliance with human rights at our Group is provided in the chapter on “Human rights”.

Not all employees in our upstream value chain have the option of collective bargaining. This is also the case in our downstream value chain, for example, at recycling companies for electronic scrap. The impact assessment of our materiality analysis showed that in the upstream value chain stages of the global electronics industry, there are only limited opportunities for union representation. We have implemented a comprehensive supplier management system to address risks to human rights in our upstream value chain. 


Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

    GRI 407 3-3 (Management of material topics)

Our contribution to the SDGs


Dialog and cooperation with employee representatives

During the reporting year, the company concluded 45 collective agreements with the ver.di union in Germany. As part of harmonizing the remuneration systems within the Group, we also concluded collective agreements on a global, uniform job architecture.

Responsible collective bargaining plays an important role and has a long tradition at our company. The percentage of employees covered by collective agreements is published in the non-financial statement in our Annual Report.

Constructive dialog
In 2023, we continued the constructive dialog with our works councils. As the underlying laws and contracts vary from country to country, co-determination matters are managed locally with trade unions and employees’ representatives. Group management is generally involved in all major issues. Further information can be found in our Annual Report.


Fair pay and benefits

We offer our employees competitive, performance-based remuneration oriented to the relevant national labor market. Our remuneration policies are structured to guarantee equal pay for all employees; they do not discriminate.

With our Global Compensation Guideline for executives, collective agreements and works agreements, we ensure a transparent and gender-neutral payment structure and remuneration for our employees at the Group. Under this guideline, pay is based on the degree of difficulty and complexity of the specific task, and not on the individual person. We thereby ensure that remuneration at the Deutsche Telekom Group is based on the type and scope of the work performed and the requirements of the relevant position, irrespective of diversity aspects such as gender, age, nationality, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. In addition, we offer our employees additional benefits, such as contributions to the company pension scheme, and subsidized share purchasing in the framework of our Shares2you program.

As part of our Group-wide employee survey, we regularly ascertain how satisfied our employees are with their pay. We also conduct other surveys on specific topics and in specific units.

In 2018, we compiled a report on equal pay and equality for the first time in order to comply with the new legal requirements of the Transparency in Wage Structures Act. It is published every five years. The current report for the year 2021 is available here.

In addition, in 2021 – after our first participation in 2013 – we once again took part in the equal pay check of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency and were awarded the “eg-check” certificate. This certificate documents that the same or equivalent work by men and women is paid in the same amount: salaries at the company are based solely on the type of work being performed.


Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 405-2 (Diversity and Equal Opportunity)

Salary development at Deutsche Telekom in Germany

In the collective bargaining round in May 2022, a salary increase in two steps for around 55 000 Telekom employees, apprentices, and dual students in Germany was agreed. The first step was implemented on August 1, 2022. The second followed on June 1, 2023. Salaries increased by 5.2 percent in pay groups one to five, by 5 percent in pay group six, and by 4.8 percent in pay groups seven to ten. The collective wage agreements have a term of 24 months. They may be terminated for the first time as of March 31, 2024.

For apprentices and dual students, the negotiating parties agreed on a salary increase in two steps: by 3.1 percent as of August 1, 2022 and by 35 euros as of June 1, 2023. Subsistence allowance for apprentices not living with their parents increased by 30 euros to 300 euros as of August 1, 2022.

To soften the impacts of inflation, additional one-time payments of 1 000 euros were granted to employees in the lower and middle pay groups. Additional one-time payments totaling 200 euros were agreed for apprentices and dual students. The first installment of these payments was paid out in July 2022, with the second following in February 2023.


Salary development and remuneration systems at the Systems Solutions segment in Germany

In late 2022, the ver.di union and T-Systems held talks on a collective agreement in Germany. In December 2022, before the expiration of the collective agreements that were in force at the time, T-Systems presented a contract that the union accepted in early 2023. In this collective agreement, the parties agreed on salary increases in two steps: up to 3.1 percent, depending on the salary group, as of January 1, 2023, and a further 2.1 percent for all salary groups effective March 2024. This is supplemented by two one-time payments totaling 1 000 euros for lower salary groups. The collective agreement applies directly to the relevant employees at T-Systems International GmbH and T-Systems Road User Services GmbH. In addition to the salary adjustments and tax-free one-time payments contained in the collective agreement, employees in Germany whose full-time annual salaries do not exceed 75 000 euros received an energy bonus of 1 000 euros, exempt from taxes and social insurance contributions, in March 2023. The qualifying T-Systems employees in Germany also benefited from this payment.


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  • Highlights

    We are working on behalf

    of an online world in which all people

    can participate and coexist in

    keeping with democratic principles

    We are working on behalf of an online world in which all people can participate and coexist in keeping with democratic principles

    Via our “No hate speech” initiative, we once again reached a great many people (about 865 million media contacts), including the many opinion leaders and educators (about 5.7 million people) we contacted directly.

    Our “ShareWithCare” campaign also reached a great many people – and it has played an important role, worldwide, in discussion about online sharing of photos of children. With over 250 million media contacts, ShareWithCare has successfully raised awareness about issues surrounding online sharing of children’s photos and data.

    Also, via programs such as Teachtoday and Scroller, we have continued working to promote media literacy in people of all ages, always with the aim of helping people navigate cyberspace safely, securely and with confidence.

    More than 200 000 people work at Deutsche Telekom – and every one of them is unique. This diversity is our strength. In keeping with our understanding of diversity, we offer our employees many ways to keep developing and growing professionally and personally. Thanks to such efforts, our employees’ satisfaction levels remain high: In 2023, our “engagement score,” which is calculated on the basis of responses in subject areas such as mood, employer attractiveness, brand identity, and inspiration, totaled 76 percent.

    Detailed examples of our progress in 2023, described from the perspectives of both the Group and our segments, are presented in the subsections.

    Highlight numbers

    Highlight numbers

    Progress of selected KPIs in  2023

    • 2022 2023

    • Community Contribution 2 346m. € 1 504m. €

    • Beneficiaries – Focus Topics 41m. 51m.

    • Reach – Focus Topics 2 070m. 1 734m.

    • Employee satisfaction 78% 76%

    • Proportion of women in middle and upper management 28.1% 27.9%

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