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Major group or young company

What is the right way to start a career?

For many graduates, starting a career in a young company is an alternative to beginning it in a well-established group: A high degree of flexibility, digital business models and flat hierarchies often promise rapid advancement of a career. But does this “black and white” notion also apply to HOCHTIEF? Career entrants and professionals at HOCHTIEF report about astonishing parallels and fundamental differences.

“My bridge construction site is a company with just five employees. You can imagine it like a small company for which I now share responsibility,” reports Thomas Rieger. The young site manager, who works on a highway bridge near Wuppertal, takes on tasks from site installation right through to invoicing: “In the case of a small project, actually everyone is responsible for everything, since the team members frequently have to deputize for each other. This enables you to quickly gain experiences in the most varied of different fields,” explains Rieger.

Thomas Rieger (l.) and Felix von Platen

People often commence work on HOCHTIEF construction sites with this pioneering spirit. In particular, process sequences and communication have to be established at the beginning. “Here, hands-on mentality is required,” says Felix von Platen, Head of the Technical Competence Center of HOCHTIEF Infrastructure who plans the work of Rieger on the construction site together with the local branch office for Rieger’s deployment at the construction site. He confirms the statements of his mentee: “This type of project is the best there is. I say that based on my own experience. You achieve something every day, and can see the ongoing development. At the same time, it continually raises new challenges.”

Here hands-on mentality is required.

Felix von Platen, Head of the Technical Competence Center

Franziska Müller, 28, Project Developer

The desire to create a broad basis from the outset

At the beginning of his career, Thomas Rieger therefore precisely wanted a small project, where he could nevertheless learn a great deal. He wanted to get an insight of all trades and areas of responsibility, in order to find out what suited him. For Masters graduate Franziska Müller, first of all intern, then trainee and at the age of 28 project developer at HOCHTIEF PPP Solutions, the broad range of tasks was particularly important at the beginning of her career: “Here you cannot automatically switch backwards and forwards between all HOCHTIEF companies. But just in our company PPP alone, there are so many different exciting fields, I am able and was able to gather so many experiences. Whether it’s finances, business planning or the operational construction business—I have so many opportunities to further my knowledge.”


My bridge construction site is a company with just five employees. You can imagine it like a small company for which I now share responsibility.

Thomas Rieger, 27, young engineer

Jörg Ohle, 41, Managing Director of HOCHTIEF subsidiary synexs

Career means getting a feeling for the height

The widespread notion of tending to take the first job in a company that is relatively new on the market rather than joining a major group is certainly also linked to the expectation that it is possible to further a career quicker in the former. However, Jörg Ohle, Managing Director of the HOCHTIEF subsidiary synexs, advises people to not be too influenced by such expectations, which are also often raised by personnel consultants: “It does you good to get out of the career elevator at one floor and look out of the window to get a feeling for the height”, he emphasizes. “If everything goes too quickly, at some time the personal limit is reached, and that would be a pity.”

April 2020

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