17 October 2011
Women in executive positions
DAX companies propose commitment to a sustainable development with binding targets
The 30 corporations listed on Frankfurt’s blue-chip DAX index intend to considerably increase the share of women in executive positions in the coming years. At a top-level meeting with Kristina Schröder, Germany’s Minister of Family Affairs, Ursula von der Leyen, the country’s Labor Minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, Federal Minister of Justice, and Philipp Rösler, Germany’s Minister of Economics and Technology, each of the 30 chief human resources officers submitted an overview of binding targets for their company. Specifically, the companies commit to the following:
- The 30 DAX companies will work to increase the share of women in executive positions, ensure equal opportunity, and make work-life balance an important ingredient of diversity management.
- In an initiative unparalleled in Europe, the 30 DAX companies have worked out a voluntary commitment to achieving this goal. They have set realistic, company-specific and measureable targets to increase the share of women in executive positions. A progress report will be made annually.
- They have pledged to continue the working group that was explicitly set up to address this issue for the next five years and to assure that the goals are achieved by conducting a mutual dialogue about the best solutions.
- The 30 DAX companies believe that voluntary commitment is sustainable and will help to achieve the goal, making a legal requirement unnecessary.
By defining specific targets, the 30 DAX companies are making good on the promise they made in their joint statement on women in executive positions issued in March of this year. In the statement the companies pledged to reach a sustainable personnel development that guarantees an adequate representation of women in leadership positions, particularly in top-level management. At the same time these corporations will increase transparency in personnel selection and talent management. This will show that the trend in their human resources policy is on the right track in terms of diversity, moving toward a systematic structure that promotes women.
"Companies benefit when more women are in executive positions – we’re quite certain of that. By setting specific targets and continuing the working group made up of experts from all the companies, we are sending a clear signal as DAX companies and creating transparency and commitment. That’s why we’re going to measure ourselves year after year on what we actually achieve, and make those results public,” says BMW personnel chief Harald Krüger. This commitment is also an important social and political signal for greater equal opportunity in the business world. In their joint statement on March 30, the 30 DAX companies called for a shift in attitudes: “Company-specific measures must accompany changes in state policies as well as a cultural shift in our entire society. This will require not only companies to get involved, but also politicians and every individual.”
The companies intend to meet each year over the next five years to present an update of “Women in Executive Positions – Status Quo and Targets of the 30 DAX Companies” to the public. In the future, each company will also report on the current status of the gender quota, the degree to which targets have been achieved, the action that has been taken and that which is planned. This information is to be included in their sustainability or annual reports.
An action catalog was also presented, which lists five fields that the companies are already engaged in and intend to expand. Specifically this catalog involves the following:
- Work-life balance
- Transparency and gender-neutral recruiting, selection and placement processes
- Recruiting activities at schools and colleges aimed at making professions in the fields of mathematics, IT, science and technology more attractive and to recruit graduates from these disciplines
- Targeted personnel development, for example, through coaching and mentoring programs for men and women
- Activities to support a corporate culture shift