Wesel, April 27th, 2015

Innovation study Young Employees Seek More Scope for Creativity

  • For one in three entry-level employees, scope for initiative is essential for innovation – but only five percent of decision-makers agree
  • Young professionals also value good working atmosphere
  • More appreciation for unusual ideas desirable

Wesel, April 27, 2015 – Managers and entry-level employees have radically different opinions as to what the most important innovation drivers are. Thirty-four percent of young professionals would like to see more scope for employees. Their bosses do not see this as such a clear top criterion: only five percent of them consider scope for employees to be decisive. These are some of the findings of the cross-sector study Industry Innovation Index 2015. For this study, the specialty chemical company ALTANA commissioned the Forsa Institute to survey 250 top decision-makers and 250 entry-level employees with between one and five years career experience in German industrial enterprises.

The young professionals consider a good working atmosphere to be the second most important factor for innovation. Fourteen percent of them cite it as a decisive criterion. Only two percent of experienced managers concurred. Third place in the young professionals' ranking, with twelve percent, is the time factor, for instance for sharing insights with colleagues in order to jointly develop new ideas. Only two percent of managers see this as necessary.

Overall, the managers' answers to the open question as to the most important innovation drivers are much more varied and less concrete. The factors they cite most often, with eight percent each, are creating and living an innovation culture, greater motivation or involvement of employees and the right human resources policy and selection.

Promote unconventional ideas, don't obstruct them

"The managers are more focused on the big picture, as they should be," says ALTANA CEO Dr. Matthias L. Wolfgruber. "But when it comes to framing concrete actions to promote innovative strength, they should be open to employees' concrete suggestions." One key factor is the appreciation of unusual proposals. German industrial managers show a great deal of untapped potential here: at present, 30 percent of entry-level professionals say without reservation that they receive appreciation. Forty-one percent say that supervisors never obstruct ideas. "Creative suggestions should always be respected," Wolfgruber says. "These don't always have to be strokes of genius that are implemented immediately. Innovation culture means being willing to knowingly embark on seemingly false paths conceptually."

Innovation study: Young emplyees seek more scope for creativityBackground to the Industry Innovation Index 2015 study

At the end of 2014, market research institute Forsa was commissioned by the ALTANA Group to conduct 500 telephone interviews with representatives from industrial companies with over 250 employees. A total of 250 members of management boards, managing directors and division heads were interviewed. At the same time, Forsa polled 250 entry-level employees at industrial companies aged between 18 and 35, with work experience of two to five years.

This press release and a printable graph can be found at www.altana.com/press-news/.



ALTANA develops and produces high-quality, innovative products in the specialty chemicals business. The ALTANA Group, with headquarters in Wesel/Germany, is a genuine “global player” with about 86% of its sales generated by international activities. The ALTANA Group has four divisions: BYK Additives & Instruments, ECKART Effect Pigments, ELANTAS Electrical Insulation, and ACTEGA Coatings & Sealants. All of these divisions occupy a leading position in their target markets with respect to quality, product solution expertise, innovation and service.

ALTANA offers innovative, environmentally compatible solutions with the matching specialty products for coating manufacturers, paint and plastics processors, the printing and cosmetic industries, and the electrical and electronics industry. The product range includes additives, special coatings and adhesives, effect pigments, sealants and compounds, impregnating resins and varnishes, and testing and measuring instruments. At present, the ALTANA Group has 49 production facilities and more than 50 service and research laboratories worldwide. Throughout the Group more than 6,000 people work to ensure the success of ALTANA worldwide. In 2014, ALTANA achieved sales of about 2 billion euros. Its impressive earning power and high growth rate make ALTANA one of the most successful and innovative chemical groups worldwide.