On 31 December 2017, there were 25 700 (25 400) employees in the Group. The average number of employees in 2017 was 26 200, which was approximately 100 lower than the average number in 2016. The numbers include 50% of the employees at Veracel in Brazil and Montes del Plata in Uruguay.
In February, the Group announced the closure of paper machine 8 at Kvarnsveden Mill in Sweden. The closure was completed during September and affected approximately 120 people. In November, the Group divested the Finnish Puumerkki Oy and the Estonian Puumerkki AS, employing approximately 170 people. Also in November, the Group announced the divestment of Baienfurt sheeting centre in Germany. The divestment was completed during Q1/2018 and employs approximately 60 people.
Personnel expenses totalled EUR 1 331 (1 334) million or 13.3% of sales. Wages and salaries were EUR 999 (1 006) million, pension costs EUR 166 (165) million and other employer costs amounted to EUR 158 (163) million.
At the end of 2017, the Group's top three countries in respect to the number of employees were Finland, China and Sweden. 26% (26%) of employees were women.
Personnel turnover in 2017 was 14.6% (22.9%). The drop in personnel turnover is mainly due to a combination of changes done at the China Packaging units, which had exceptionally high personnel turnover in the past. Illness-related absenteeism amounted to 3.1% (2.9%) of total theoretical working hours.
Stora Enso’s lost-time accident (LTA, number of lost-time accidents per one million hours worked) rate (for own employees, excluding Veracel and Montes del Plata) was 5.3 (4.4), an increase of 20.5% from the previous year. Part of the increase in the LTA-rate can be explained by the change in the reporting practices. During the year, the LTA rate milestone for 2017 was changed from 3.8 to 4.0 based on past performance. The total recordable incident (TRI) rate was 7.7 (11.7).
Stora Enso’s key performance indicator for leadership, the Leadership Index, measures the employees’ perceptions of their leaders. It is calculated based on the annual employee survey. Our target was to achieve an index of 80/100 by 2018. This target was reached ahead of schedule in 2016, and it further improved to 81 in 2017.
Remuneration to the Board of Directors and key management is described in Note 7 of the Consolidated financial statements.