In 2008, 286 new examiners started at the EPO, over 27 % more than the year before (2007: 224). This increase was the result of a variety of initiatives, such as further streamlining of the recruitment process, improved planning and targeting of examiner posts, better use of print and online media channels and the launch of a new image campaign. In the non-examiner area, there were 62 new recruitments to permanent and contract posts (2007: 84). Fig. 1
The management development programme was extended to the identification and development of aspiring managers. There was also a significant rise in the number of team development workshops. Performance management for principal directors entered into force in January 2008 and has since been extended to directors. With this initiative, all permanent employees of the EPO, including managerial staff, are now subject to a reporting system, the only exceptions being the chairmen and members of the boards of appeal.
A single, Office-wide flexible working time system was introduced in October. Whilst continuing to ensure that the interests of the service are taken into account, the system offers modern working time conditions, enabling staff to balance their working hours better with their personal needs.
A new pension scheme was developed for new recruits, entering into force on 1 January 2009. The new scheme was needed to continue to attract the best scientists and engineers in a difficult labour market. At the same time, it should help to reduce the financial burden of the Office's long-term liabilities.
In autumn 2008, renovation of EPO Headquarters in Munich started on time. Renovation was necessary to remove asbestos from fire shutters and air duct insulation. In parallel, air-handling units in operation for 30 years are to be replaced and essential technical renovation work is to be carried out. Last but not least, investment in environment- friendly technology will help to reduce energy consumption significantly. The work is currently scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010.
Fig. 2 Analysis of staff in post on 31 December 2008 by grade & nationality
Fig. 3 Analysis of staff in post on 31 December 2008 by place of employment and grade
Fig. 4 Examiners (on 31 December 2008)