Female managers in demand
Women have caught up over the last few years in management positions in Germany, especially those at management board and supervisory board level: In 2011, the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) reported that 3.7 percent of the management boards of the DAX 30 companies were female; this was only 2.2 percent in 2010. In the supervisory boards, the percentage of women has risen from 13.1 to 15.7 percent – just as before, these are primarily workers’ representatives (70.5 percent). Internationally, Germany is behind as it was before; nevertheless, investment in promoting women and a healthy life balance is above average.
Women are represented at the highest levels of E.ON
With a percentage of 17 percent women in the Supervisory Board and the appointment of Regine Stachelhaus to the Management Board of E.ON AG (now E.ON SE) in 2010, E.ON is one of the pioneers among DAX companies. Regine Stachelhaus said: “I assume that by now, all companies must have understood that composing teams of people from diverse backgrounds is a real success factor.” “At E.ON, we will continue to increase the number of women in management positions and we are committed to encouraging more women to take up technical professions.”
Focusing on gender diversity
Just under 30 percent of current E.ON employees are female. Group-wide, the proportion of female managers has been increased by 1 percent compared to last year; it is now at 12.5 percent. Throughout Germany, the level is currently 9.5 percent compared to 8.6 percent last year. Regine Stachelhaus is still not satisfied with that: “Our goal is to better than double this proportion for the whole Group. E.ON wants to place a definite milestone on the way to this goal: by the end of 2016, 14 percent of women should be in management positions. This is an important initial milestone.”
Studies show that it is not the number of programs that is decisive, but rather the correct selection and the way that they are put into action that makes the difference. E.ON is on the right track with the Gender-Diversity project that was started in the year 2010; it was designed to bring about gender equality throughout the Group. The program defines ambitious, but realistic goals to increase the proportion of women in management positions and determines supportive measures such as mentoring programs. These measures are as follows:
Definition of specific targets for our global and regional units
By defining specific goals for our global and regional units, we can incorporate them clearly into the process. Through this, the units work independently towards the Group-wide target: to increase the proportion of women in management positions. The extent to which these targets have been met is assessed quarterly and reported to the executive board at regular intervals.
Revision of the Group-wide Placement Policy
One of the main ways we hope to reach our target is through an amendment to the Placement Policy. The amendment stipulates that shortlists of potential candidates for vacant executive positions must always include at least one man and one woman. Any deviations from or exceptions to this require the approval of the responsible board.
Balanced composition of observer teams
When identifying potential candidates, everything is done to ensure that the teams of observers - such as those used in assessment centers - have a correct gender balance that is appropriate to the target group. In the rare event that a mixed-gender team is not possible, an internal training session is conducted for observers to ensure that they include diversity considerations in the selection procedure.
Increasing the proportion of women in internal talent pools
Over the coming years, we aim to significantly increase the proportion of female talents. We draw up personalized career development plans for everyone in our talent pool during personal career planning discussions. These plans dovetail people's individual needs with those of the company.
Group-wide mentoring programs
Our Group-wide mentoring programs aim to broaden networking opportunities, making it easier for us to pinpoint potential, and help mentees shape their own careers. Every mentee has access to an experienced mentor for a set period. Mentors can share personal tips and career advice with their mentees, outside of the constraints of a formal employer/employee relationship. The program is aimed at both women and men.
As part of a pilot project, we launched our first Group-wide mentoring program for a group of female executives in 2009. The mentoring program was also supported by a career development program. Its success encouraged us to launch a new mentoring program for a pool of junior female employees with potential for leadership positions in 2010. We are also planning to make diversity a core component of our leadership training for potentials.
Strengthening awareness of diversity at management level
The subject is actively being incorporated into Group-wide development measures to make management and future management staff aware of diversity issues..
External partnerships and internal networks
To help increase the share of women working in technical professions, we work together with external partners such as the Association of German Engineers and the femtec careers center. E.ON in Germany is home to two internal networks dedicated to the interests of women: "IngE" (short for "female engineers at E.ON") for women in engineering and technical professions, and "FinE" (short for "women in the energy business") for female executives and management potentials. As well as serving a networking purpose, the two networks - founded in 2007 - also strive to make a positive contribution to E.ON's corporate culture and to change perceptions of women's roles in society. In 2011, around 160 female engineers and technicians from 30 E.ON companies were members of IngE, and more than 80 female executives and management potentials belonged to FinE.
Awareness of diversity inside and outside the Group
We incorporate diversity indicators into the regular employee surveys. This gives us an idea of the current atmosphere that shows us how our efforts are being perceived by the staff.
By being presented the “top4women” award, we were able to achieve a real initial success in 2010, proving ourselves as a top employer for women.
Special employee programs to support top performance
Professional success is about more than just advancing on the career ladder: Personal and professional demands need to be reconcilable. This is especially relevant for women. In Germany, women today are still more involved in looking after children and other family members than their male counterparts, as studies by the socioeconomic panel of the German Institute for Economic Research have shown. So to achieve our gender diversity goals, our global and regional units have each developed their own measures to support employees - including flexible working time models, reintegration arrangements upon return from parental leave, and assistance in finding childcare. Our extensive fitness and preventive health programs and our encouragement of knowledge sharing between generations help ensure our employees continue to perform at their best for as long as possible.