Why are most recruiters women

Equality in workWhat women's quotas mean for men

Markus studied, lives in a major German city and works as a management consultant. So actually the late 20-year-old has the best career opportunities. Recently, however, his employer introduced a quota for women.

And Markus thinks that is unfair: "It's a bit of a clan. So, because women were discriminated against in the past, we now discriminate the other way around. And of course you can always look at a promotion: Okay, we still have the quota not quite fulfilled. Then maybe it would be better if we took a wife. "

We have omitted his last name and alienated his voice so that Markus does not threaten his company with any disadvantages from this criticism.

Criticizing new injustices

The quota in his company stipulates that women and men should be employed equally at the lowest career level. At higher levels, the target is gradually reduced to around 20 percent. Management bonuses are linked to the implementation of the quota. Markus thinks it's basically very good that women are promoted in his company. But the quota will only lead to new injustices, he believes:

"I think that's right when the company acts as it were before the quota, actively promoting it with appropriate women's networks and also during recruitment. I don't think that's the case with a quota that is so happy."

(Imago / Jens Magnusson) Good ideas for more women in management positions
Does it always have to be the quota? Or are there other ways to get more women into management positions? "Campus and Career" presents four recipes for the advancement of women - and takes a look at how well they work.

How can management positions and jobs in general be distributed more fairly? Our society has been dealing with this question for years. Some employers, for example, now voluntarily set themselves percentage targets. Politicians are also intervening: since 2016, a 30 percent gender quota for supervisory boards has been in effect for large companies that are listed and subject to co-determination, which is stipulated by law. And the Federal Minister Franziska Giffey (SPD), among other things responsible for women and families, is planning a further quota for board members, as she emphasized in February on Südwestrundfunk:

"We want that in companies that are really big, that are on the stock exchange, that have over 2000 employees and large board members of more than four people: That we say we want a minimum number of women - namely exactly one woman . "

The debate about equality is heated: there is talk of quota women and men's clubs, of the gender struggle and old white men. Conversely, some questions have hardly been discussed so far. For example: What do women's quotas mean for men?

The fact is: the professional world, politics, research, the executive suite - for generations these were the domains of men. Only since 1977 has women in the Federal Republic of Germany been legally allowed to go to work without their husbands' permission. Since then, they have been advancing step by step into the professional world - albeit in triple steps, as Katharina Wrohlich from the German Institute for Economic Research, or DIW for short, emphasizes:

"The proportion of women who are employed has risen sharply. However, it has to be said, practically all of the increase in the participation of women in the labor force over the past 15 years has been part-time."

Share of women on executive boards has fallen again

After all: The management consultancy network Ernst & Young found in a new study that women in the top echelons of German listed companies earn more on average than men: Since the applicants are scarce, their market value and thus their salary increase, it is said. At the same time, however, the proportion of women on the boards of the 30 DAX companies has fallen for the first time in years - against the international trend. This is the result of another, widely acclaimed study recently published by the non-profit Allbright Foundation.

The foundation promotes diversity and women in management teams in German and Swedish business. As of September 1, there were 23 female managers in these executive bodies, compared with 29 a year earlier.

Federal Minister for Family Affairs Franziska Giffey (left SPD), Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) - next to cabinet colleague Horst Seehofer (CSU) (AFP / Tobias Schwarz)

The figures provide new arguments, especially those in the federal government who are in favor of a quota for women. Already in February - before Corona pushed the topic into the background - the Ministry of Women and the Ministry of Justice - both led by the SPD - passed a draft law for a new management position law in the departmental vote, which, among other things, also provides for a quota in Dax board members.

On two points, the draft law even goes beyond the coalition agreement between the Union and the SPD: First, Federal Women's Minister Franziska Giffey and her cabinet colleague, Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht, want to expand the existing quota for supervisory boards from 105 to almost 600 companies. Second, at least one woman should be represented on a company board of four people or more. However, this regulation should only take effect when a new board position has to be filled. In addition, the top positions in public companies are to be filled equally by 2025.

The federal cabinet has also just passed an evaluation of the effectiveness of the first executive positions law. This evaluation, which was commissioned by the Ministry of Women, gives the so-called "FüPoG-I" good marks. That now strengthens their demand for a FüPoG-II, says Giffey.

Women's Minister Giffey does not accept this criticism that the SPD cares too much about academics and too little about the low-skilled:

"It is often said that you only do it for the management level, why is the SPD now campaigning for managerial positions at all? Don't you have to look after the workers much better? We do that too."

Agreement on executive positions law is pending

Because the whole company would benefit from mixed teams in management, and also the German economy as a whole, according to the Ministry of Women. As a pilot group, the board members also have a role model function, says Giffey. The Chancellor no longer has to convince them. On the contrary. Angela Merkel made her position clear in July, with an undisguised criticism in the Bundestag:

"I think it is absolutely inadequate that there are still listed companies in which there is not a single woman on the board, that is a situation that cannot be found sensible."

Merkel's own party friends, especially Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier, saw things differently for a long time. The issue of quota and the advancement of women is also a sensitive issue within the CDU because it is highly controversial. Only now is the matter moving. CSU boss Markus Söder has recently stood by the Chancellor's side on the quota issue. The CSU regional group in the Bundestag has even written an internal strategy paper in which it also advocates a fixed quota for women in DAX companies. It must be embedded in an overall concept that also includes more flexible working hours and improves single parents' work, according to the paper that is available to the Deutschlandfunk capital city studio.

However, it is not yet clear whether the Union and the SPD will agree on a new management position law. At the end of the week, the coalition's internal working group will meet again to work on a compromise. Time is short: an agreement should be reached at least by the end of the year so that the new law can come into force during this legislative period.

International Women's Day of March 8, 2019 (www.imago-images.de / IPON)

The social pressure on companies to include women in management is increasing. And men are slowly starting to feel the consequences of promoting women in their professional lives. The Wiesbaden recruiter Daniel Detambel is observing this more and more frequently. He looks after executives who earn between 160,000 and five million euros per year:

"You have to say more and more that in the last few years men have come to us and say: Well, I know, things won't go on in the company for me. Because we communicate this so openly, that women are promoted, that I just have to look for alternatives outside of this company. "

So far, this has mainly affected management positions at large medium-sized companies and the middle management of Dax companies. Those levels where, thanks to the advancement of women in recent years, there are now many well-qualified managers to be found.

The "disadvantage" in turn is men around 50, says Detambel: "If you are not yet a board member or managing director at 50, it will be all the more difficult to reach this position. And they just notice: I'm running out of time. "

Management consultant Markus would not have any objection to fair competition with more women in the race. However, he assumes that his company's voluntary quota would not lead to more competition but to new distortions. So far it has been the case that many women left the company when they started a family, he says: Especially in his company and in many other management consultancies, it is standard to work full-time - not at 38 or 40, but rather at 50 or 60 hours per week:

"If you want to take your time in a row, that's okay, as long as it's not too long. But what is difficult are part-time models like: I only work three days a week. Or I only work part-time. Because that is actually not provided for in the working model that we drive. "

No evidence of discrimination against men

And that in turn means from Markus ‘point of view: If women leave and the quota that his company has imposed on itself is still met, then the women who stay in the company would have to be promoted in any case. It doesn't matter whether they are better, worse or just as qualified as men. He criticizes that this has little to do with the actual goal, namely equal opportunities.

There is no scientific evidence that women are disadvantaged by quotas for women. The European Central Bank recently analyzed its own personnel policy and found, however, that in recent years women have applied for management positions there less often than men. If they applied, they were more likely to be promoted.

A poster advertises a "career as an entrepreneur". (dpa / SVEN SIMON)

Nicole Voigt, an expert on diversity at the Boston Consulting Group, assumes that - across all industries - there are now quite a few women who work in higher management positions - and would definitely like to move up. This is what their research shows. For the fourth time in a row, the management consultancy has published a cross-sector overview of gender equality policy in the 100 largest German companies: the so-called BCG Gender Diversity Index Germany 2019, which was created together with the Technical University of Munich and Deutsche Börse. Based on the data collected there, says Voigt, one comes across the same prejudice again and again:

"We always get the question, well, are there actually women ...? This time, we examined the proportion of women at management levels I and II for the first time. And indeed: it is an average of 20 percent. And at 80 percent." of our 100 companies that we have examined, there is a larger proportion of women on management levels compared to the executive board. And the question, are there enough women, you have to answer with a clear yes "

In principle, it is important to consider different perspectives in the debate about equality between the sexes in the labor market, says Matthias Becker. The social pedagogue is the equal opportunities officer for men at the city of Nuremberg. One reason why so little is currently changing in management is that men are also trapped in their social roles. In this way, they are primarily defined in terms of professional success - with far-reaching consequences:

"As long as we as a society still have the expectation that men are the breadwinners of the family. Then a career is very important, then men have to fill these full-time positions. Then management positions are only conceivable full-time. And then I get into the spiral that then always makes impossible ... "

Becker repeatedly experiences that men are by no means always happy with this model. It's just been trivialized up to now as a "midlife crisis": "I know a lot of men between 50 and 60 who are dissatisfied and say, now I haven't noticed how my children have grown up. I have made a career, but ... Money is not everything after all. "

Management consultant Markus also takes this view. Although he is against the women's quota, he finds equality in itself extremely important:

"Personally, I believe that one of the main reasons that we are so far away from parity, especially in the higher management positions, is that nowadays in society women typically take time off because of family and raising and therefore want to do part-time jobs . "

It is therefore important above all to enable part-time careers, he says, and emphasizes: For him this is not a women's issue at all, but a family issue:

"Because I personally think that's all well and good, and I can imagine it for myself, to say, I'll go into some kind of part-time model, so that I have more time for family and children and also for myself. "

Only four out of ten men take time off

Spending more time with the family - this is what men seem to have. Nevertheless, a study by the German Institute for Economic Research shows: So far, only four out of ten men even take a break after giving birth; many of them only two months. According to DIW, this is partly due to the fact that they still often earn more than their partners. Men’s contact person Matthias Becker from the city of Nuremberg also experiences that men often find it difficult to enforce time-outs:

"That often fails because of the system, but also to people, to bosses who are there sometimes and say: Nope, I don't approve of that. We work like that. It was like that for me too ..."

(imago / Westend61) Parental leave - men are still the exception
Parental leave is primarily maternal leave. In the meantime, more fathers stay at home when there are offspring. But the majority are not. Money plays an essential role in this. In addition, many men fear disadvantages in their job.

So men are currently in a difficult position. On the one hand, women's quotas are dwindling their classic career opportunities. On the other hand, it is made difficult for them to take on a leading role in upbringing - that is, to define themselves more through their family. Therefore, new role models for men will have to be discussed more in the future, says Becker. And role models are needed:

Fabian Soethof is someone who can be a role model in this regard. The 39-year-old took nine months of parental leave after the birth of his second child and now works part-time. He reports about it on his internet blog "newkidandtheblog".

Because he, too, has experienced: So far, his model is not self-evident: "I have already heard sentences like: It used to be different, so why does it have to be so long? People I know have really heard this sentence: You have a wife at home. Or, what do you want at home. You can't do anything with the child anyway. "

Denying men parenting skills is obviously just as discriminatory as women's leadership skills. Soethof believes that if such reservations were to be resolved and more men were to take family time off, this would automatically also help equality:

"So if a man in his early 30s applies, then it should just as mentally rattle and say: 'Ah, he will soon be starting a family, he will definitely want to take care of himself.' And if this worry is no longer understood as a worry but simply as a matter of course. And, secondly, that men and women think like this: Then we would be very far. "

Instrument for changing structures

The question remains: do we need quotas for women to enable such new ways of thinking in companies at all? Yes, says Janina Kugel.The ex-Siemens board member, who now works as a Senior Advisor at the Boston Consulting Group, is firmly convinced that nothing else will change in the existing structures:

"Because we all know that decisions about appointments are not only based on objectively measurable criteria, but we always like to choose people who are just like us. In other words, origin, education, gender."

And it is precisely the top committees such as board members who shape the corporate culture and set the course. Seen in this way, a diverse executive board or supervisory board would be a prerequisite for establishing equality for all genders at all levels of the company.

Gender researcher Katharina Wrohlich from the German Institute for Economic Research has a hard time with a clear answer:

"Well, if you ask me, this is an effective way of increasing the proportion of women in these bodies, I say: Yes, of course. But the question is: I mean, gender equality goals are not the only political goals, yes. And whether you come to the overall assessment that you consider this a good idea, I find that really very difficult to finally assess. "

Above all, however, she emphasizes that new, family-friendly work structures can also be promoted through other measures. For example, the state could provide financial incentives for parental allowance so that parents can share time off more fairly, suggests Wrohlich:

"All of these other measures would affect much, much more people than a gender quota for such absolute top bodies is now."

From the point of view of the proponents, the quota should create real equality in the world of work. One thing is certain: this can only succeed if all interests and needs are taken into account across all genders.