Visitor numbers crack 20,700 for the event’s 20th anniversary Zukunft Personal Europe in Cologne comes to a successful close

20.09.2019 It is the continuation of a twenty-year success story. The Zukunft Personal Europe came to an end in Koelnmesse yesterday with a record-breaking 20,717 visitors attending the event. This was also the largest event in the history of the leading fair dedicated to the world of work with more than 770 exhibitors and over 40,000m² of exhibition space. Key topics of relevance to the sector were how companies can ensure successful digital transformation and how to integrate AI into work processes

“Once again in its twentieth year, the Zukunft Personal Europe has impressively confirmed its significance as the most important platform for human resources management and company transformation. The event reported significant growth across all key performance indicators,” said Ralf Hocke, CEO of the event organiser, spring Messe Management, summing up the event’s success. “The feedback from exhibitors and visitors has been overwhelmingly positive. So we are all the more delighted to be entering a new dimension of the Zukunft Personal Europe next year when we move into the larger halls 4 and 5. At the same time, we will be developing the event’s successful brand essence which consists of a marketplace, interactive formats and networking along the entire employee experience,” continued Hocke.

Federal Minister of Labour Hubertus Heil discussed impact of AI

Federal Minister of Labour Hubertus Heil was joined by prominent experts from the United Services Union ver.di, SIEMENS, Deutsche Telekom and IBM for a panel discussion on the effects of AI on the working world, jobs and HR management. The discussions were based on a survey funded by IBM Germany and the trade union ver.di and carried out in collaboration with the Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs.

“Our survey shows that AI can improve work quality and that new tasks and activities will emerge that employees will find interesting and demanding. Our results also show that both simple and complex tasks can be automated. Jobs that will potentially cease to exist have other skills profiles from the newly emerging jobs and activities,” described Marie-Christine Fregin, postdoctoral research fellow at the ROA Maastricht/Social Science Research Centre Berlin (WZB) and INPUT Consulting, pointing to a key finding.

Against this background, Federal Minister of Labour Hubertus Heil underlined the importance of a realistic view of the future to make people excited about the work of tomorrow. He stressed that motivated employees were absolutely vital for innovation and competitiveness.

Continuing in the same vein, Dr Jochen Wallisch, Executive Vice President HR, Siemens AG emphasised how important it was for companies to develop into sustainable, learning organisations. This would not only guarantee the employability of individual employees but also the continued existence of the company and the consequent safeguarding of jobs.

Turning to the use of AI, Lothar Schröder, member of the Federal Executive Board of the United Service Sector union ver.di called for innovative technologies to improve work and relieve employees.

All panelists agreed that the focus must be on individuals and their interaction with machines.

Company transformation as future task of HR

Dealing with artificial intelligence and the automation of work processes is an important aspect of digital transformation for companies. As Change Manager at Bayer, Sebastian Kolberg gave a clear picture of how this process can be put into practice at a company with an over 150-year history:“Everything hinges on having a digital mindset. Invite your staff to Design Thinking workshops to change their attitudes.”

Kerstin Rücker, Director of HR & Organization Development, Eckes-Granini Group, declared in her keynote that the VUCA environment of change offered huge opportunities for innovations. The VUCA environment allows companies to adopt new, unusual methods which can help them adapt to their customer’s changed requirements both quickly and successfully. This makes it even more vital for HR to take over the reins in the shaping of this change process.

Zukunft Personal Europe 2020: new halls, new dimensions

Transformation will also be on the agenda for the Zukunft Personal Europe next year as they move into halls 4 and 5 of Koelnmesse. This is not just a milestone in terms of space for Europe’s leading event dedicated to the world of work.

As Christiane Nägler, Group Director Zukunft Personal explained: “From 2020, the Zukunft Personal Europe will be combining a modern working landscape and an interactive platform with live events to deliver an impressive all-round experience. Visitors can look forward to company and product presentations, knowledge-sharing formats and events that are tailored even more precisely to their needs.” The halls would also be renamed Recruiting & Attraction, Operations & Services and Training & Learning in line with the visitor flow along the employee experience, she added. At the same time, each hall would offer different highlights and the special formats such as the Startup Village and the Future of Work Village would be integrated with additional content.


The next Zukunft Personal Europe will be held from 15 to 17 September 2020. 


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