From lawyer to Head of Human Resources 3 minutes spent reading
Working environments

From lawyer to Head of Human Resources

Christopher Eberl
Holds editorial responsibility for career topics and for the apprentice website. His stories offer insights into the world of work at voestalpine.

As part of the celebrations marking the 650th anniversary of the University of Vienna, we are highlighting voestalpine employees who are graduates of the university. We start with Klaus Stachelberger, Head of Human Resources & Administration at voestalpine Krems GmbH.

Born in Lower Austria, Klaus Stachelberger studied law at the University of Vienna from 1993 to 1999. Before his studies he attended the elementary school and the gymnasium in St. Pölten. Read more about his time as a student in the following interview, as well as about his career at voestalpine.

From lawyer to Head of Human Resources

Mr Stachelberger, what is, or was, interesting about your degree, and how does it help you in your current job?

In addition to a small yet significant predisposition – my grandfather was a notary – I have always been interested in law because, in essence, law defines the ‘rules’ for living together in society. It creates a framework in which we can act freely, and which kicks in when no other agreement can be reached, or when there is a threat to interests which need protecting. Thus law has a de-escalating function.

"My role as a human resources manager, which makes me responsible for 600 employees, is also partly concerned with avoiding escalation, and finding rules which ensure the fairest possible balance between the interests of the company and those of its workforce."
Klaus Stachelberger, Head of Human Resources & Administration, voestalpine Krems GmbH


What moment do you particularly remember from your time as a student?

I certainly won’t forget the overfilled lecture hall at the beginning of my degree, where there was hardly even space to sit on the floor. As a commuter, that makes you think very carefully about whether it’s worth travelling at all. This situation led me to organize my time carefully, select events, and work more independently, effectively teaching me greater personal responsibility.


When & what brought you to voestalpine?

I joined voestalpine AG in May 2001 after having made an unsolicited application. The focus of my activities chiefly lay in international employment law and drawing up contracts for management abroad. At the start of 2008 I moved to voestalpine Automotive GmbH where I was an assistant to the management. I’ve been head of Human Resources & Administration at voestalpine Krems GmbH since 2009.


Tell us something about your work.

As Head of the Human Resources & Administration department I’m responsible for all aspects of HR management, including apprentice training. As the only person with a legal background, I am also in charge of legal advice and support, as well as insurance management. And, last but not least, I am also in charge for all so-called ‘general works management’, which includes things such as plant safety and the company fire department.


What do you particularly enjoy about your job and working at voestalpine?

My wide range of duties means that no two days are the same. The work remains multifaceted and stimulating. My job also guarantees that I’m frequently in contact with people. It’s challenging having to regularly mediate between diametrically opposing interests, and come up with compromises and solutions.

"But success in finding such solutions brings even more personal satisfaction."
Klaus Stachelberger, Head of Human Resources & Administration, voestalpine Krems GmbH


What tip would you give future applicants in your area of operations?

As with any job, fun and satisfaction with your work are key factors. In view of the variety of stakeholders involved, it is very helpful for HR in the company if you have the ability to summarize complex legal situations as precisely as possible and to make decisions quickly. As a member of the management you need to stay true to your principles, remain focused on your goals, and don’t promise things you can’t deliver. That gives the employees orientation, and help them to build trust.

Christopher Eberl