Filling 30% of middle and upper management positions with women


We are continually striving to be a high performing organisation, and diversity has proven to be a crucial aspect to achieving this. Hence, gender equality is one of our key focus areas.

What did you want to achieve?

Back in 2010, Deutsche Telekom set itself the target of filling 30% of middle and upper management positions across the Group with women.

What did you do?

To achieve sufficient female pipeline for our talent and leadership programmes, we started with recruitment, establishing mixed-gender hiring teams, gender-neutral wording in our recruitment process and special recruiting events – including women@work, Femtec and the MINT (STEM) Awards. To support our parents’ ambitions and enable a healthy work-life balance, we launched our ‘Careers with children’ mentoring programme and a specific job newsletter for women along with part-time and flexible working and tandem-leadership.

We developed our new I&D strategy together with business and Telekom communities, such as women’s networks. Based on this strategy, we prioritise supporting diverse high potentials to accelerate their careers (via ‘Diversity Agents’) and fostering a truly inclusive culture that celebrates difference and individuality as opportunities. Besides the internal programmes, we also participate in schemes such as the Diversity Charter (‘Charta der Vielfalt’) and collaborate with initiatives such as ‘Global Digital Women’.

What are the results so far?

Our broad range of measures has allowed us to continuously increase the share of women in middle and upper management globally, from 22.7% in 2010 to 26% on December 31, 2019. The share of women on the Group’s Supervisory Board reached 45% in Q2 2020. 

We have surpassed both our own goal and the statutory gender quota introduced in Germany in 2015. Our Business Leadership Team (international management team below the Board of Management) currently boasts eight women out of 57 members, two of whom are BoM members. Among other awards, in 2019, we were proud to be awarded first place out of all DAX 30 companies on the BCG Gender Diversity Index.

What have you learned?

We learned that increasing a fair share of women in management is a marathon, not a sprint. Strong Board and Management commitment and a willingness to disrupt old habits and leave comfort zones are key factors for success.

I&D are not only matters of corporate responsibility but crucial for business success. Hence, driving a holistic set of measures covering all areas of the employee lifecycle as well as related communication and cultural initiatives is mission-critical.

We also learned that nurturing I&D requires cultural adaptations and strengthening the feeling of belonging for currently underrepresented groups. Along with that, we learned that we can support each other through internal communities; thus, being a role model to the rest of the organisation was an additional key success factor.