Among Hessen's industrial segments, the electro-technical industry is the second largest direct employer with more than 50,000 employees – or a 12.6% share of all workers in the manufacturing sector. Total sales are €9.5 billion and the export share is 52%, with the largest importing country currently being France. Direct foreign investment by Hessen’s electro-technical companies in 2013 was €2,1 billion.
The highest level of sales is achieved by the precision instrument sub-segment in the areas of measurement, control and process technology, optical technology and the manufacture of watches as well as products in the medical technology area.
In order to maintain a leading position, the Hessen electro-technical industry has focussed on innovation in both products and processes. In 2013, investments in research and development reached €420 million. The electro-technical industry has the third highest level of R&D investment in Hessen.
Innovation requires many people with a high level of expertise to develop new products and processes. Hessen’s universities and universities of applied sciences create the foundation for successful research and manufacturing in Hessen. More than 7,000 students are matriculated in electro-technical programs in Hessen’s institutions.
The TU Darmstadt, for instance, is the world's oldest university for the electro-technical segment. Numerous clusters and networks have been established throughout Hessen. The members of the competence centers are both businesses and research institutes. A total of 2,500 trainees were enrolled in work-study programs in Hessen in 2012.