Gender Inequality in Top Positions: Evidence at the Establishment Level in Germany

Thursday, 2 July 2015: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
TW1.3.03 (Tower One)
Iris Moeller, IAB, Nuremberg, Germany
Susanne Kohaut, IAB, Nuremberg, Germany
The question of inequality is of high relevance even in societies like Germany. An increasing inequality in the distribution of wealth and income in the population can be observed. When looking at subgroups of the society inequalities are often even more pronounced. Women form one of these subgroups. While formal qualification and education of men and women converge inequality still remains in the labour market. The gender pay gap indicating differences in the income of men and women exists in most countries, even on the same qualification level. Career opportunities and the participation of women in top positions in firms is another segment where gender inequality in the labour market is still present. Therefore, the proportion of women in top positions is regulated by law in some European countries. In Germany a legal regulation for a 30 percentage share of women in supervisory boards will only be introduced in 2016.

So far, Germany is one of the European countries where only few women reach top management positions in companies although they have the same formal qualification as men. With data of the IAB-Establishment Panel the development of women in leading positions in the whole economy can be monitored in Germany. This survey covers almost 16,000 firms every year and is designed as a longitudinal survey in which the same establishments are contacted every year. Therefore we are able to follow the development in the participation of women in the management over the years. Unfortunately, nothing much has changed since 2004 when the question about women in top position was first included in the survey. In 2012 26 % of all top positions were held by women (Kohaut/ Möller 2013).

The aim of this paper is to take a closer look at the firms that do have women in leading positions. We distinguish between establishments with just one leading position and such with a team of “leaders”. Therefore, different methods for each group have to be applied. For the first group simple probit-models are the method of choice whereas glm-estimations are used to analyse the factors that influence the share of women in leading positions where there is more than one executive position. The data of the IAB Establishment Panel survey contains a huge number of explaining, structural variables which may have an influence on the share of women in leading positions. For the first time we are able to address the question whether the possibility to work part-time in a leading position has a positive influence on the share of women in the management. We hope to promote the discussion about progress in this field of gender equality besides the argument on imposing legal quotas.