Women's Quota Alone is Not Enough

Since 2015, Germany has implemented a women's quota, requiring major corporations to have 30 percent female representation on their supervisory boards. However, the effectiveness of this policy is questionable, as nearly 83 percent of board members in German stock exchange companies are still men. HAGER Executive Consulting, on the other hand, sets a positive example by applying internal standards and using five key elements in the selection of top positions to actively promote and embody equality

by Petra Harms | 11 Jan, 2024
Women's Quota Alone is Not Enough

It is controversial, ridiculed, celebrated – since 2015, Germany has had a women's quota. Supervisory boards of major corporations must be 30 percent female. Since 2021, the German Second Leadership Positions Act additionally aims to increase gender diversity in executive boards. The reality? Nearly 83 percent of board members in German stock exchange companies are still men. In a survey, only seven percent of European companies stated that leadership diversity is a top priority. At HAGER Executive Consulting, different standards are applied internally and in the selection of top positions, setting a good example with five key elements that turn equality into lived equality.

1. Creating Opportunities

A study by LinkedIn and the World Economic Forum shows that women are less frequently promoted internally, despite being rated as more competent. In Germany, men climb the corporate ladder 44 percent more frequently than their female colleagues. Promoting talent internally and providing them with perspectives in their own company binds talent in the long term. HAGER Executive Consulting currently has a 34 percent female leadership ratio. Successful measures include explicit support for emerging talents and the introduction of a middle management level. Companies that visibly demonstrate diversity in advancement opportunities and corporate responsibility on their website gain an edge in recruiting.

2. Offering Flexibility

The current Global Gender Gap Report reveals that women apply 24 percent more often for positions that allow remote work. Since a significant portion of care work is still done by women, flexibility is often a necessity. However, flexible work models, remote work or job-sharing, and family-friendly benefits should be accessible to all employees, promoting justice and equal opportunities. Currently, only 17 percent of men work part-time. Key for many is sufficient childcare. HAGER Executive Consulting provides financial quarterly allowances for alternative, flexible models, including day care or babysitters. Family-friendliness is understood beyond compatibility of child and career, extending support to colleagues with elderly parents or sick friends through flexible work hours, home office options, and mental and financial assistance.

3. Facilitating Exchange

Feeling alone and abandoned? Women are still underrepresented at leadership levels in many companies. This leads to women feeling isolated with a lack of support at eye level and an absence of role models. Networks and mentoring programs are fundamental for a workplace culture where women are encouraged to unleash their leadership qualities. The goal is to promote potentials, provide guidance, transfer knowledge and experiences, recognize leadership qualities, and develop a unique style. HAGER Executive Consulting has seen a 52 percent increase in female team members through internal equality initiatives, mentoring programs, a coaching academy, and a network for women that extends beyond external partnerships.

4. Inspiring Through Narratives

Diverse teams complement each other in determination, creativity, and different perspectives. They make better decisions for companies, as evidenced by a recent study by the Institute for the World Economy. The company culture also benefits when women are at the table. Here, acceptance has significantly increased. Instead of the previous attitude of "Please, no women, they might get pregnant," female executives are now explicitly sought after – especially in traditionally male-dominated fields such as IT, logistics, or the financial sector. Positive narratives, backed by scientific facts, influence perceptions. International studies show that women at the top not only increase revenue but are crucial for the success of ESG and CSR guidelines.

5. Harnessing Creativity

According to the Women in the Workplace 2023 report by McKinsey & Company, women are often hired and promoted based on past successes, while men are evaluated based on their future potential. There is a need for action on the part of companies by setting measurable goals for integrating female leaders, regularly assessing progress, and ensuring transparency in diversity metrics. Additionally, it is important to reconsider the idea of rigid linear advancements and give a chance to candidates from different industries, focusing on breaking hierarchical structures and the right mindset alongside expertise. HAGER Executive Consulting has decades of experience in assessing the potential of applicants beyond their CVs, suggesting suitable candidates at the executive level. It is this "Beyond the Obvious" principle that leads to a long-term top match.

A big thanks to IT Services & Operations Manager Simona Schramm, Technology Solutions Manager Jasmin Fuss, and Software Manager Stefanie Nagel for the valuable input and exclusive insights that have contributed to this article.

This article is part of a content cooperation between Fe:maleOneZero (F10) and HAGER Executive Consulting. The company, which specializes in executive search, has repeatedly been named one of the best personnel consultancies in Germany by the magazines WirtschaftsWoche and Focus. HAGER Executive Consulting employs around 110 people and, in addition to its extensive know-how in the field of digitalization, is also considered a specialist in issues relating to diversity and innovation.



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