Gender Inequality

Boys' Club Persists at German Banks

Male Bankers source Photographer's Choice Getty Images
Germany's banking sector is still a big boys' club.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Despite paying lip service to career advancement for women, the issue is still a low priority at most German banks.

  • Facts


    • German banks have shown little progress in achieving gender equality over the past five years, a new study shows.
    • Only 11 percent of seats on German banks’ management boards are occupied by women. On the level below the management boards, 17 percent are women.
    • Flexible working times in executive positions are rare.
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Carola von Schmettow is a successful banker. She is also an anomaly.

As the head of  HSBC Trinkaus in Düsseldorf, she is one of just three women who have reached the very top at one of Germany’s 100 largest banks.

Her example shows just how much catching up the country has to do in terms of gender equality, even with a new law that requires banks and other large companies to adopt a gender quota by mid-2017.

That’s because the lower-level of such quotas remains the status quo, even if there are a few ambitious exceptions to that rule.

“We still have too few women in leadership positions on the management boards of banks,” said the managing director of the Association of German Banks Michael Kemmer recently.

Despite plenty of talk to the contrary, the issue remains a low priority in the industry, according to a human-resources study by consulting firm ZEB seen by Handelsblatt.

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