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Women in leadership positions – female bosses are not there yet – News

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Women in leadership positions – female bosses are not there yet – News


The 100 largest Swiss employers still have a lot to do for various management bodies. Too many women are leaving companies too quickly.

The good news first: The 100 largest Swiss employers achieve the so-called gender benchmarks, which have been in effect since 2021. There are 20 percent women on management boards and 31 percent on administrative boards.

But to chalk this up as a success would be short-sighted, says Guido Schilling, editor of the Schilling Report. He has been analyzing the composition of the boardrooms of the 100 largest Swiss employers for almost 20 years.

Gender diversity has improved over the last few years. But there are still companies in which there are no women on the management board (23 percent). This value has not changed recently. In previous years it had declined sharply. So development has lost momentum.

There is a noticeable flattening that makes me sit up and take notice

The weaker development is also evident in those companies that, with 30 percent women in management, have a higher level than the benchmark required by politicians. While this share has risen continuously in recent years to up to 21 percent in 2023, it recently fell to 20 percent. Without the 20 largest listed companies, the share is only 18 percent.

And even for the 20 largest companies that are listed in the SMI stock index and are therefore particularly in the shop window, the development has leveled off. The proportion of women on the board of directors is stagnating at 34 percent, but on the executive board it has increased slightly again to 26 percent. “But there is a noticeable leveling off that makes me sit up and take notice,” says Schilling.

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Companies must remain active

He suspects that corporate strategists are leaning back a bit. Especially in the last few years, before the introduction of the so-called gender guidelines, the pressure on companies was great. But now this pressure has obviously eased, says Schilling. However, sustainable diversity is only possible if companies remain active and do not leave the composition of the top committees to chance.

This means: It is not enough to promote women individually. The development must be accompanied by suitable framework conditions and an appropriate corporate culture. For example, experts cite flexible working time models, conscious selection processes and internal reflection as central building blocks for this framework and culture.

Women are looking abroad

These aspects are still not sufficiently implemented. Some women have completely turned their backs on careers at large Swiss companies. They switch to consulting, become self-employed or move abroad. A prominent example is the former head of McDonald’s Switzerland, Aglaë Strachwitz. She is now in the position of Chief Restaurant Officer in France. At least her successor is a woman again – that’s not the case in other cases.

“Keeping the women we have won is a key,” says Schilling. He finds that women stay in their positions far less long with three years than their male colleagues with seven years.

So what can be done to stop the departures? The recipes have long been known: companies should support young women and give the new bosses an attractive, long-term career that can be combined with family.

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