Why Germany Is Becoming a Top Career Choice for Women


Updated on Feb 17 • 3 minute read

More women in executive positions: In recent years, Germany put up a battle against the inequality between men and women in companies. Although men and women are equal under the Basic Law, real equality is still a long way off.

With a women's quota, Germany is now positioning itself as a European pioneer in opening the career path for women to the executive floors.

While there's still a long way to go before we can speak of equality between men and women in Germany, the cabinet is now opening the way for women to reach the top echelons of management: by introducing a women's quota.

We tell you why Germany is a good career choice for women.

Equal in the Basic Law, unequal in reality

It's 2021 and gradually you'd expect women to be on an equal footing with men in businesses: be it equal pay, the seating of women on boards of directors or equality in child-rearing and caring responsibilities. Although women and men are equal under the Basic Law, real equality hasn't yet been achieved.

Let's face reality: according to Statista, the gender pay gap in Germany is still 19 per cent. In other words, women are paid 19 per cent less than men for their work.

With its wage gap of 19 per cent, Germany is below the European Union figure.

Many experts also draw a line to the gender care gap, according to which women spend 52.4 per cent more time on unpaid care work than men; women receive a parental allowance for an average of 14.2 months in 2018 and men only just under 3.8 months.

What experts agree on is that if you want to close the wage gap between men and women, you also have to distribute unpaid care work fairly between men and women. A look at various statistics unfortunately reflects the unvarnished truth: inequalities still exist in many places in Germany.

What makes women's careers take off in Germany despite the Gender Pay & Care Gap

It is true that the Gender Pay Gap and the Gender Care Gap continue to throw women behind when it comes to their careers. More steps towards gender equality have to follow, and Germany is well aware of this. Since companies are still failing to step up to the plate to get women on supervisory boards or into top management, the cabinet is now forcing their hand.

In response to inequality, Germany introduced the women's quota in companies. Since 2016, 30% of women have to be represented on supervisory boards and

from 2021 women have to be members of the boards of directors of German companies.

30 per cent women's quota in the supervisory boards of German companies.

Since 2016, the women's quota has been in place for supervisory boards of large listed companies: from a certain size (usually from 2,000 employees), 30 per cent of the supervisory board seats must be filled by women.

Wondering if the women's quota has caught on in the last 5 years? In 2017, a women's quota of 35.2 per cent was achieved for the first time!

2021: Cabinet approves women's quota on the board of directors

Only one year after its introduction, the women's quota in supervisory boards was fulfilled. But this has also uncovered the next inequality: only ten to 13 per cent of board positions are occupied by women.

In 2021, the cabinet will decide that at least one woman must sit on the boards of listed and equally co-determined companies with more than three members.

By the end of 2025, 50 per cent of management positions are to be held by women.

Even stricter rules apply to companies in which the federal government holds a majority stake: If there are more than two members on the management board, at least one must be a woman. In this way, large companies are supposed to act as role models for smaller companies. A true milestone for women and their careers in Germany!

All the more reason to get your career going in Germany!

73 corporations have to fill the executive board with women from now on

Almost 73 corporations are affected by women's quota on the board. And almost half of these listed companies currently manage without a woman on the board - they now have to make up for this. There are now 32 companies that are obliged to recruit a female executive to their top management.

Sanctions for companies without women at the top

Do you wonder what happens to the companies that simply fail to find or don't want to find a woman for the board? Unless the corporations can give specific reasons why they plan for the board of directors to be without women, they will be sanctioned.

Women in business in Germany: The top companies for women

Now, which are the German companies that are embracing diversity and gender equality and paving the way for women to reach the top floor?

In Germany, there are four companies that have several female managers in the top echelons:

  • Allianz
  • Daimler
  • Deutsche Telekom
  • Fresenius Medical Care

Deutsche Bahn also sets a positive example, having faced up to the issue of diversity and equality years before the cabinet's decision. Since 2011, Deutsche Bahn has already voluntarily set targets for women in management positions for both the parent company and its subsidiaries.

Unfortunately, there are still bad apples that don't eagerly open the doors to the executive floors to women, such as Adidas, Bayer, Linde, RWE, E.On, MTU - or Dax newcomer Delivery Hero. As a matter of fact, there is still not a single woman on the board of directors. Time to change this!

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