Increasing gender diversity in senior management throughout Europe


A Siemens programme in the UK entitled ‘Women into Leadership Programme’ proved to be a great asset and important catalyst to foster an inclusive and unbiased culture. The programme counts more than 25% of promotions among its 40 participants.

What did you want to achieve?

Siemens in Europe aims to strengthen its succession pipeline for business key functions with qualified female candidates to increase gender diversity in senior management throughout Europe.

What did you do?

Accelerate-Europe started in September 2019, providing early identification and targeted development of mid-career female candidates. The programme offers high impact, coaching-led interventions to accelerate engagement and performance as well as support for career decisions and professional development.

After being nominated by their managers and interviewed by several colleagues of the Human Resources People & Leadership department, two cohorts of 12 participants were selected, representing a balanced mix of technical, business and support functions from 15 different countries in Europe.

The twelve-month programme includes on-site workshops, individual coaching, work in between modules career consulting, discussions with senior leaders and peer coaching. Two on-site and two virtual training courses focus on topics critical for a successful long-term career in big organisations: authentic leadership; self-belief and confidence; politics and networking; as well as presence and gravitas. These occasions also serve as networking opportunities.

The programme finished in August 2020, after which we formed an alumni community and HR monitors participants’ progress.

What are the results so far?

Participants and senior management established strong connections. Participants reported personal growth through an intense exchange of experiences.

We increased the female share of the candidate pool for senior management roles. Approximately 25% of participants were added to the succession pipeline for critical functions in the European organisation.

What have you learned?

The support of the sponsors who were members of Siemens’ top management was one of the key factors for success, adding high credibility to the programme upfront. Addressing direct superiors to those eligible to be nominated was equally important to ensure a rigorous nomination and selection process where highly qualified and highly talented mid-career candidates were part of the programme. Internal communication was essential for raising awareness within our organisation and participants’ environments.

A high degree of flexibility proved crucial as we needed to switch to virtual workshop sessions halfway through the programme because of the coronavirus pandemic.

We learned that participants’ diversity was vital in terms of business functions along the whole value chain and countries represented. We also learned that we need to integrate female and male high potentials in future development programmes. It is important.