Federal citizens with East German socialization are underrepresented in top positions. The traffic light coalition has set itself the goal of bringing more East Germans into leadership positions. But there is still a long way to go.

According to a new study, West Germans are still mostly in charge on East German executive floors – whether in companies, courts or universities.

The proportion of East Germans in top jobs has increased only slightly overall in the five East German states since 2016: from 23 to 26 percent. In state cabinets, large companies and many media, things even went downhill. From “Federal German elite positions” – for example in the federal government, DAX companies or federal courts – 3.5 percent are occupied by East Germans.

In Eastern countries 87 percent East German, nationwide 17 percent

The study “The long way up” in cooperation with the University of Leipzig and the MDR was published on Wednesday on the occasion of the East German Economic Forum. In it, an East German is defined as someone who was socialized in the GDR or in the East after unification, i.e. who mostly lived there until adulthood. Their representation in top jobs is measured by the proportion of the population: in the five East German states, 87 percent of all residents are East Germans; nationwide it is 17 percent.

Of all judges in the highest courts in East Germany, 22 percent are now East Germans, compared to 13 percent in 2016. In East German universities, 17 percent of rectors or presidents have an East German background, about the same as in 2016.

In the state cabinets of the five states, the proportion of East Germans is much higher at 60 percent – but in 2016 it was still 70 percent. In the management of the 100 largest companies in the East, the proportion of East Germans fell from 45 to 27 percent.

In 2016, 62 percent of the chief editors of the major regional newspapers were East Germans – today it is 43 percent. On the other hand, the share has increased in the management of publishing houses: from 9 to 20 percent. In the management bodies of the public broadcasters for the East – MDR, RBB and NDR – the proportion of East Germans grew from 27 to 31 percent – from three to four people.

The traffic light coalition has set itself the goal of bringing more East Germans into leadership positions. A concept for this should be available in the course of the year.

East Commissioner Schneider: Too few East Germans in top jobs

The Federal Government Commissioner for the East, Carsten Schneider, underlined this plan. “The social management structures should be a reflection of the whole country, whether in business, science, the judiciary, politics or the media,” said the SPD politician of the German Press Agency. “That is not the case and also applies to East Germans who are not adequately represented in management positions.”

The coalition wants to set a good example in the federal administration, said Schneider. “For management structures, it is generally the case that decisions are made better when diverse experiences and perspectives are incorporated,” said Schneider.

Since 2004, data on East Germans in management positions have been published in a time series by the production company Hoferichter