HR Circle of acatech and the Jacobs Foundation

HR experts on the future of work

Shaping the future of work and qualification is also among the top priorities of acatech, the German National Academy of Science and Engineering. The “HR Circle” serves as a platform for chief HR officers and experts from academia to discuss the future world of work. A paper published by the Circle provides an insight into what its members feel and think.

How can young people be prepared and qualified for the challenges of the future world of work? How can learning institutions prepare for digital transformation? How do we want to and how can we shape the future world of work? These are just some of the questions tackled by the HR Circle. Since its establishment in 2014, it has served as a forum and a safe space for chief HR officers of leading technology and service provider companies to discuss the challenges related to shaping the future of work.  The HR Circle brings together HR professionals with experts from academia, who contribute recent findings from educational research, ergonomics, business administration, and company organisation. 

Vocational training and continuing education, leadership, company and work organisation are the key challenges addressed in the publication “Die digitale Transformation gestalten – was Arbeitsvorstände der Zukunft sagen” (“Shaping digital transformation – how chief HR officers see the future of work”).  In addition to taking stock, its aim is to gain a fresh understanding of work through intense dialogue with other digital transformation stakeholders from politics, business, science, and society. 

acatech IMPULS (April 2016)

Shaping digital transformation

Key topics of the discussion paper

The initial discussion focused on six topics that were considered as being particularly relevant in the context of digital transformation. These were examined in greater detail through interviews with individual stakeholders:

Business model innovations
Ambidextrous structures
Education and training system reform
National competence monitoring
Transformation management
Opportunity-based communication


Opinions from the HR Circle on HR and work 4.0

Professions in the digital world: Janina Kugel, member of the managing board of Siemens AG

HR Circle member Janina Kugel describes how digitalisation is impacting professions at Siemens (“Denkraum Digitale Transformation” (digital transformation think tank), Munich, July 2016)

Work 4.0 – between preserving and experimenting: Christian Illek, chief human resources officer at Deutsche Telekom AG

Christian Illek, HR Circle member and chief human resources officer at Deutsche Telekom AG, on the challenges of work 4.0 and its impact on the culture of collaboration (DGFP congress, Berlin, April 2016).

HR & Industry 4.0: Dr Bettina Volkens, member of the executive board and chief officer corporate human resources and legal affai

Dr Bettina Volkens, member of the executive board and chief officer corporate human resources and legal affairs at Lufthansa Group, on the vital role of HR managers, in particular for the successful implementation of digital transformation (6th German Human Resources Summit, October 2015)

acatech IMPULS

This series of acatech publications features analyses and prompts for thought regarding basic questions of science and engineering as well as science-based politics and social consulting. The discussion papers are prepared by acatech members and other experts and are validated and published by the acatech Executive Board. All publications released so far are available at

Industry 4.0 explained by acatech

Members of the HR Circle

Review of the publication in “Personalmagazin” (p. 54)

Personalmagazin (08/16)