FRANKFURT, GERMANY -- Sportscar maker Porsche, a unit of Volkswagen AG (IW 1000/10), on Thursday said it will gradually trim working hours without any cuts in pay, in an effort to attract highly skilled workers.

"Porsche is looking to improve competitiveness and attractiveness as an employer even further," the automaker said in a statement.

Porsche's executive board and its works council have "agreed on appropriate measures for increased flexibility and productivity," the company said.

The group's more than 17,000 employees therefore will see their working hours cut gradually between now and mid-2013 from 35 hours to 34 hours "with full compensation," it said.

"It is proving ever-more difficult to find well-educated people on the labor market," said Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller. "The demographic development is exacerbating this problem significantly. This is a major challenge not just for Porsche, but the entire German automotive industry.

"Overall, higher flexibility and productivity will strengthen our competitiveness considerably."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012