Germany: 28 Percent of Affected German Companies Meet 30-Percent Female Board Quota, Economist Says

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By Andrea Barbara Schuessler

Jan. 14—Just over a quarter (28 percent) of mandated German employers have met the 30 percent quota for filling vacant supervisory board positions with women according to the 2016 female management barometer, Elke Holst, senior economist with the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), tells Bloomberg BNA.

Effective Jan. 1, 2016, 108 German companies have to meet a mandatory 30-percent women's quota for filling vacant supervisory board positions under legislation Germany's parliament approved in 2015.

Companies both listed on the stock exchange and partially managed by employees are also affected by the new legislation, which introduced a voluntary women's quota for approximately 3,500 companies.

86 Years

At the end of 2015, the share of female managers on the executive boards of Germany's highest-revenue companies was 6 percent, less than 1 percentage point higher than in 2014. On the supervisory boards of these 200 companies, the share of female positions was 20 percent.

“If the pace continues to be so low, it will still take a long time until equal participation of women and men will be achieved,” Holst said in a Jan. 13 statement.

If the progress of the last 10 years remains the same, it would take 86 years for the 200 companies with the highest revenue to achieve equal participation, Holst added, and for supervisory board positions 25 years.

In financial sector companies, the increase of women in management positions was among the lowest in 2015, according to the DIW survey of the 100 largest banks and 59 insurance companies.

On executive boards in the banking sector, the female share was 8 percent in 2015, 9 percent for insurance companies. The female share on supervisory boards in banks was 21 percent, 19 percent in insurance companies.

“The few career prospects also have an effect on the pay gap between women and men,” Anja Kirsch, co-author of the 2016 female management barometer and a researcher with the Institute for HR Policy at Free University Berlin, said in the Jan. 13 statement.

“The so-called gender pay gap in the financial sector is the largest, compared to all other industries,” Kirsch added.

In addition to the women's quota, the German government should increase the career prospects of women by implementing tax and family policies that encourage women to work, Holst said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Barbara Schuessler in Berlin at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Vollmar at

For More Information 
Full text of the quota legislation is available at all in German.

For more information on German HR law and regulation, see the Germany primer.