Back News  /  December 2012

Standpoint: Women’s quota in personnel consulting

Companies are successful if they employ women in top positions – that is the result of the Women Matter study by McKinsey (1-5, 2007-2012). But we are still discussing a minimum women’s quota in politics, at mixed leadership conferences and at companies?

As someone who is personally affected - as a woman in a senior management position – I take a rather positive view of the minimum quota as a matter of principle. In line with the motto of “One is not proud of a quota, one takes advantage of it” it can be abolished again after several years and the appropriate successes. Because - once larger numbers of women hold executive management positions, they will draw even more women.

As an expert on HR issues and someone who was formerly responsible for personnel in IT and service companies, I advise against excessive government regulations. That deprives companies of the option of reacting to the market flexibly. A uniform quota across multiple business sectors is quite simply too short-sighted and extremely impractical. For example, how should it be realised in IT or hi-tech companies today, even if one wanted to?

InterSearch is a personnel consulting firm for the SME sector. Most of our clients achieve a turnover of up to 1 billion Euros; many are family-owned and are rarely domiciled in metropolises like Hamburg, Berlin or Munich: they are “hidden champions” in Eckernförde, Mettlach, Plattling or Villingen-Schwenningen.

Our clients are already very open to some extent and seek executive personnel irrespective of whether an individual is male or female. But is that really a crucial criterion for personnel selection? The really interesting question that I ask myself every day in my function as a personnel consultant is: How do I bring together the people that really suit one another.

The issue that is affecting our clients is the lack of skilled personnel. Restricting the candidates that are to be contacted with respect to a position by (at least) 50% would be disastrous. The objective in this regard is to expand the circle! Today older candidates have become an option again. Candidates from Spain with basic German language skills that can be improved are being discussed. Part-time approaches are also becoming accepted to an increasing degree. But not in order to fulfil a minimum women’s quota, but instead to fill a position with the one good candidate – whether male or female.

In my daily work at any rate, the minimum women’s quota plays a subordinate role. I gladly take part in society’s debate on the reality of work and life in the 21st century.

About the author: Julia Böge is a client partner of InterSearch Executive Consultants
                            domiciled in Hamburg.


Press contact: Thomas Bockholdt   Tel.: +49 40 46 88 42 0