According to a study, women are increasingly being given the opportunity to fill top positions in listed German companies. According to an evaluation by the non-profit Allbright Foundation, between September 2022 and March 2023, women managers were selected for almost half of all vacant board positions in companies in the Dax family. This is an unusually strong dynamic. On average, around 100 top positions in the 160 companies are filled every year.

For example, Sabine Mlnarsky started at Commerzbank, Christine Giesen at the wholesale group Metro and Stephanie Cossmann at the fragrance and flavor manufacturer Symrise.

Despite the recent increase, the top tier of companies from the stock market indices Dax, MDax and SDax are still dominated by men. As of March 1 of the current year, the proportion of women in the 160 companies was 17.1 percent, a year earlier it was 14.3 percent.

Listed companies with equal co-determination with more than 2,000 employees and more than three board members must now ensure that at least one woman sits on the management floor when filling new positions on the board. This minimum participation bid applies to new orders from August 1, 2022.

“The quota works where it applies. But that’s far from enough,” said Elke Hannack, deputy chairwoman of the DGB. “We need more women at all hierarchical levels of the economy and the scope of quotas and minimum participation should be expanded accordingly.”

From the foundation’s point of view, companies should do more to promote female managers internally. While male board members are mainly promoted to the top as “homegrown”, female managers have so far made it to the top in their own company much less frequently.

Almost two thirds (63 percent) of today’s female board members of the Dax family have not made a career in their own company, but were recruited externally for the board or the level below. In contrast, 83 percent of board members promoted internally in the last five years were men.

“If we want to see significantly more women on the board, we need parity not only for external appointments, but also for internal promotions right up to company management,” warned foundation managers Wiebke Ankersen and Christian Berg. “The companies themselves must systematically build up a much larger pool of female executives at all levels, there is no getting around that.”

The German-Swedish Allbright Foundation is committed to more women and diversity in management positions in business.

Additional source: Allbright Foundation study