During the reporting period, the global employee databases have been evolving and final, full integration of the former Haas Group is ongoing, but the employee base represented in the 2020 report is 81% of our global salary base.
Percentage of training costs on a base of total personnel costs is maintained at target of 1% in 2020 and the number of annual training days per employee remains above the target of two. This reflects the strategy to enhance the quality of our career-long learning opportunities for our employees.
The training and development is managed in a global program of Employee Performance Management covering more than 90% of employees. A systematic implementation of succession planning with key positions at management level 1, 2, and 3 defined across the company and succession plans are in place in 95% of cases in 2020. Mirroring this, 4.3% of employees are identified as high potential and are developed and tracked.
The focus on gender diversity has maintained the percentage of female employees at 17%, however this figure does not yet reflect the importance given to this topic. School and university programs, active support for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), viable female candidates required for key positions, and constant management attention is expected to result in a higher number of female employees in the coming years.
Partners in Food Solutions (PFS), an independent nonproﬁt organization, is working to strengthen food security, improve nutrition, and increase economic development across Africa by promoting the competitiveness of the food processing sector, offers employees the opportunity to use their skills and experience to support small and growing food companies in Africa. Bühler employee engagement increased once more with 56 projects supported in 2020.
The Bühler apprentice scheme is embedded in the culture of the company and underpins its future success. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the economy in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic, 64% of graduating apprentices were hired. The remainder all entered new career steps with the majority joining other companies or continuing academic studies and one becoming a professional athlete.
Bühler continues to become increasingly attractive as an employer and the number of applications per open position has almost doubled to 30 over the reporting period.