I found out about the ‘Karrieretag Familienunternehmen’ (Family-Business Career Day) a few years ago from the Career Center at my old university, the Fachhochschule des Mittelstands (FHM) in Bielefeld, and was fascinated to see how many exciting companies were taking part in this series of events. I liked how authentic the Career Day was, particularly the fact that the event is always held on the premises of one of the participating companies. This allows the organizers to introduce themselves on a personal level, and means that participants get a great overview of the company culture. This specific structure allows participants to speak with owners and top decision-makers from a wide range of family businesses and to gain inspiration for forging their own individual career paths.

Now, in my role as Business Development Manager for the event organizer the Entrepreneurs Club, I have the pleasure of overseeing and developing this and other formats, such as the ‘Karriere im Familienunternehmen’ (Careers in Family Businesses) online portal. As such, I am also involved in planning the forthcoming Family-Business Career Day and what can I say? We are delighted that this year’s event will be held at MANN+HUMMEL Group’s new technology centre in Ludwigsburg.

50 renowned family businesses including Hilti, Kärcher and Würth will be looking for new talent, along with ‘hidden champions’ and global market leaders like Bizerba, Brose and Festo. Another special feature of the Family-Business Career Day is that accredited candidates are permitted to attend. This creates an environment that is more personal and easy to navigate, where graduates, new talent and experienced professionals from all disciplines – particularly IT professionals, engineers and salespeople – can seek out new challenges.

The career environment in a family business

The career environment in a family business differs significantly from that in an impersonal public company. For many academics, it provides an opportunity for self-fulfilment and valuable, long-term commitment to their role. Sustainability and long-term orientation are key characteristics of the corporate culture in family businesses. These firms often have a long-standing tradition spanning several generations, and their continued existence should also be guaranteed by future generations.

Individual development opportunities

In contrast to impersonal public companies, there are usually no prescribed career paths in a family business. The hierarchies are considerably flatter and paths of communication are shorter and more direct. Initiative and performance are of far greater significance – employees who perform well are soon able to take on more responsibility. Company structures are more flexible and each employee can help to shape their own working environment.

So, make sure you apply by 14 May and come and find out about new challenges and career opportunities on 29 June. We look forward to seeing you there!