The management level of German listed companies is becoming more female. Since the women’s quota comes into force for certain companies, stricter requirements will apply to them from August. According to experts, however, the pace of change is relatively slow.

According to a study, there are more women than ever before in the top tier of listed companies in Germany. According to the auditing and consulting company EY, as of July 1, 101 female managers were on the boards of the 160 companies in the Dax family. That was five more women on the board than on January 1 of this year and the highest value since the start of the evaluation in 2013. This also applies to the proportion of women in the company, which rose from 13.5 percent to 14.1 percent.

According to the information, the number of top female managers has roughly doubled within four years. Nevertheless, many board members are still a male domain. According to this, a good half (51 percent) of the management bodies of the companies surveyed are currently exclusively male. Only nine companies have a woman at the top of the board, including the pharmaceutical and chemical group Merck.

“The proportion of women on boards and in management positions is increasing. This is basically positive, but the pace is relatively slow,” said EY expert Markus Heinen. In his estimation, the proportion of female executives cannot be increased by volunteering alone.

Quota for women applies from August

From August 1 of the current year, listed companies with equal co-determination with more than 2000 employees and more than three board members must ensure that at least one woman sits on the top floor when making appointments to the board. According to EY research, this currently affects 66 of the 160 companies. Other listed or co-determined companies that do not fall under the minimum requirement must justify if they plan to have their board without women.

Such binding requirements are having an effect and would give new impetus to a positive development, said Heinen. “If the female perspective is missing on boards and in management positions, there is a risk that companies will not have a proper view of half of their potential customers or develop their products and services without them.

During the first half of the year, the 160 companies analyzed saw a total of 23 new board appointments, nine of which were women. This corresponds to a share of 39 percent.

Women are by far the most strongly represented in the top tier of the 40 German stock market heavyweights. As of the reporting date, there were 51 female managers among the 257 board members – more than ever before. Almost 20 percent of the Dax board members are female. The proportion of women is significantly lower at around 11 percent each on MDax and SDax executive boards.