Machinery IndustryProduction and Sales > German machinery industry and economic crisis

Turnover per employee indicates status of crisis' overcoming

Crisis indicator in German machinery industry positively peaks in 2022

Update May 23rd, 2023 - The machine-builders had to struggle for six years until 2015 to exceed the turnover per employee over the pre crisis level of 2008.


The depth of this crisis as well as its duration belongs to the structural changes that have been developing in the course of industrial production in the leading industrialized countries since the year 2000.

In 2020, there was now a further slump, which had already been announced in previous years in 2018 production and 2019 sales. In the years 2021 und 2022 the turnover per employee reached new highs since 2008.

We would like to document the turnover per employee for the different company sizes of the machine builders and which sizes of firm are doing more easily in this context.

As the industry analysis shows, the machinery industry consists of companies with a range of different sizes.

Machine-building companies distinguished according to their size

For this purpose we divide the machinery industry into six sizes of company classes according to the numbers of the Federal Statistical Office for 2022 . These are machine-building companies with

  • fewer than 50 employees (42% of the companies 2022)
  • 50 to 99 employees (22%)
  • 100 to 249 employees (22%)
  • 250 to 499 employees (9%)
  • 500 to 999 employees (3%)
  • 1,000 and more employees (2%).

Turnover per employee indicates crisis level and overcoming crisis

The code number, which is to clarify to us the overcoming of the crisis effects, is the turnover per employee. The employees in the mechanical engineering companies operate with full commitment. On the other hand, the turnover they generate considerably depends on the worldwide market conditions.


How did sales per employee develop overall in the mechanical engineering sector in 2022? What are the differences between the six company size classes?

Crisis indicator 2020 at a trough since crisis overcoming in 2011

The diagram shows the results for the entire machinery industry. The turnover per employee is set to 100 for 2008 so that it becomes clear at a glance, whether this code number is now above, equal or below the pre-crisis level.

The result: The turnover per employee exceeded its pre-crisis level (=100) in 2015 with 102.2 for the first time, therefore confirming the crisis' end in the German machinery industry.

In 2019, the crisis indicator is already pointing downward and decreased to 97.4 index points in 2020, lower than at any time since the upward trend from the crisis trough in 2011.

This means that 2020 is the most severe crisis year since the upward trend from the last global economic crisis in 2009/2009.

Sales per employee in German machinery industry from 2008 to 2022 as crisis indicator.

How shows the new high of the turnover per employee for the six company size classes?

Machine-building companies with 500 to 999 employees showing the best value of the crisis indicator 2022

The crisis indicator as turnover per employee is back to 100 for 2008 for each company size category.

The crisis slump in 2020 was different in the individual company size classes. However, we now compare the new peak in sales per employee of 115.9 index points with the values in the six company sizes.

  • Only companies with 500 to 999 employees could increae their turnover per employee significantly above average.  Their crisis indicator is 146.2 index points and therefore 26% above the average of 115.9 index points.

These companies could already cope the best with the crisis in 2020.

Only the smaller mechanical engineering firms lie only a little below the average value of the crisis indicator in the machinery industry.

Only the smaller companies are slightly below the average value of the of the crisis indicator in the machinery industry:

  • Firms with fewer than 50 employees: crisis indicator 115.0 index points
  • Firms with 50 to 99 employess, 114.5
  • Firms with 100 to 249 emploeyees, 106.2.
Sales per employee regarding company sizes in German machinery industry 2008 to 2022.


Large firms with more than 1,000 employees were able to increase their sales per employee in 2022, but compared to all other firm sizes, this increase was the smallest. Their crisis indicator is the lowest with 106.2 index points.

Turnover per employee in Euro

Finally still for information the absolute numbers for the code number turnover per employee.

Sales per employee and sizes in German machinery industry 2008 to 2022.

The average turnover per employee in the German machinery industry is €261,097 in 2022. Its range is €179,642 from the lowest to the highest value, i.e. 68% of the sector average, ranging from €171,210 with firms with fewer than 50 employees up to €350,852 with companies with 500 up to 999 employees.


1) As well known all companies of the manufacturing sector are legally with 20 and more employees committed to report production, turnover, employees among others to the Statistical Offices. So these numbers are therefore very reliable.