Sunday, June 19, 2016

Germany's Recipe for More Women in Management Positions 

 Germany's Recipe for More Women in Management Positions

I have lived in several countries, but one feature I really appreciate from living in Germany is the government's great skill in recognizing problems and make plans for how to solve them. The German government has been busy lately, for example with measurement of car emissions. The result was massive recalls even though the rules were a little bit fuzzy. It therefore comes as no surprise, that the German government introduced a women's quota just because they thought the German companies had been too lame. Many countries should be jealous of such strong government.
No company wants a women's quota. Most women don't want a women's quota, and very few men.
And still the German government made a rule that there should be 30% women in the Supervisory Boards from the beginning of 2016. I am trying to understand the impact for me. I am quite far away from the Supervisor Board. But what affects me more is that the government additionally added a mandatory target setting for number of women in management positions. Every year the companies have to report on how it is going. The number of women in management positions is very low. There is a table on the German Wikipedia which describes the current status in the Executive Boards (see below). As you can see more than half of the 30 German biggest companies have Executive Boards only with men. We are here including some companies with 50% female work force, far higher than the manufacturing companies who often have 15-20%.
At the Friday Weißwurst breakfast at work I asked my colleagues what they thought about women's quotas. Next to me sat the colleague who applied for the same job as me, and he got the job we both applied for. I instead got a newly created position which was for me surprisingly including leadership. It went better than expected. This is exactly the effect of the German government's mandatory goals. Opposite to me at the Weißwurst breakfast there was a female colleague who was, however, reacting a bit negatively. She said that she absolutely not wanted to be promoted because of her gender. I think what she needs to realize is that if we want to solve the problem with women in management positions we need to embrace the opportunity that the government offers us. It will feel a little bit funny but we are part of fixing a problem. 

Source: Dr. Anna H. Tidstam, PMP

Technical Manager at BMW | PDM/ADM Specialist 

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