Closing the Gender Gap:

Using quotas to straighten women's path to management positions

gender parity
Company name:
Deutsche Telekom AG
More than 50,000
Europe & Central Asia
Contact Position:
Diversity Expert
Contact company representative

The Gap:

Type of Gap: senior management level

While Deutsche Telekom has a proportion of roughly 30% women in its global workforce, the global proportion of women in upper and middle management equals only 23%. We want to raise the proportion of women in middle and upper management to 30% by 2015.

The Practice:

Type of practice: Measurement & target setting

As the first major German company, Deutsche Telekom introduced a women’s quota of 30% to be reached by the end of 2015, based on clear targets for all recruitment filling and development processes.

The quota applies to all affiliates of Deutsche Telekom. To achieve this goal, we systematically implement the quota through targets alongside the whole talent pipeline. By means of the quota, we ensure transparent recruitment processes and transparent HR development through systematic controlling and monitoring of the targets.


It is not enough to focus on a few levels only. The whole talent pipeline must be taken into consideration to extend the number of female talents starting from the bottom. We track female proportion at the following points in the pipeline:

  • Whole pipeline (national and international)
  • In affiliates and segments of our Group worldwide 
  • In all management groups
  • By management board divisions
  • In shortlists
  • In supervisory boards (national & international)
  • Assessment and development centers
  • In succession pools
  • In leadership development, professional & executive programmes
  • In talent pools & talent spaces
  • Dual course of studies
  • Presence course of studies
  • Apprenticeship
  • High potential programmes

We conduct quarterly reports which provide exact and detailed information on the development of female proportions on all levels and in all affiliates worldwide.


Implementation Date:

The targets of the women’s quota are to be achieved by the end of 2015.

The Success:

Since the introduction of the quota, the worldwide share of women in middle and upper management could be increased from 19% to over 23% within one year.

We observe clear differences in national distributions. Some countries such as the US or Croatia have more than 30% women in management positions already. These differences are due to historical and cultural reasons, but also related to local management initiatives.


Success factors:

  1. Setting of clear targets for each single business unit
  2. Exact controlling and monitoring of all targets
  3. Commitment of the Management Board


  1. Male-dominated corporate cultures
  2. Executives rejecting interventions into their personnel decisions
  3. Resentments of women fearing to be considered “quota women”


Monitoring|Performance Management|Policy|Process Design|Recruiting|Reporting & Accountability|Talent Management
Similar practices Country

Time and place flexibility make personal freedom a part of our culture

Company: Deutsche Telekom AG

Type of Gap: senior management level

Type of practice: Work environment, work-life balance

To shape a flexible and innovative corporate culture, we have introduced a comprehensive work-life-programme that fosters individual solutions for all our employees and executives.


(keep in draft) Using rewards to foster a diverse talent pipeline

Company: (not disclosed)

Type of Gap: senior management level

Type of practice: Awareness, incentives & accountability

By linking executive incentive compensation directly to annual diversity goals, we are achieving an increase of the representation of women at all levels of the organization.

United States

Unified pay framework closes the salary gap

Company: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Type of Gap: ...between male and female salaries

Type of practice: Leadership & company commitment

A unified pay framework allowed us to assimilate staff under one grading structure and to achieve equal pay for equal value.

United Kingdom

The content on this page is third party information provided 'as is', with no guarantee of completeness and accuracy. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the World Economic Forum.