Women hold quarter of German manager jobs: official data

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The share of women in senior jobs in Germany has risen to a record level near 28 percent but they are far more likely to hold responsibility at smaller firms, a federal study showed on Wednesday.

The exact result, 27.7 percent, "has increased over the last few years," the Destatis federal statistics office said in a statement, but remains "markedly smaller than the total share of female persons employed (45.6%)."

In 1996, the number of woman in positions of responsibility stood at 21.8 percent, Destatis noted.

Senior women executives are more likely to be found in smaller companies, as their percentage rose to 35 percent in those which employ fewer than 50 people, the study found.

Among the most senior positions in firms with more than 50 employees however, the percentage of women fell to 16.9 percent.

The question of women executives has been widely debated in Germany, which lags behind other advanced economies.

A study by the DIW research institute published in March showed that women comprised only 3.2 percent of the top managers in the 200 largest German firms.

The 30 companies listed on Frankfurt's DAX stock index, such as Volkswagen, Siemens and Deutsche Telekom, have pledged to coming up with detailed targets for raising that percentage.

But Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen has joined women's groups in calling for binding quotas for industry.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned the fact that voluntary targets introduced in 2001 for companies to boost their ranks of female executives have produced only "modest results".

While she has resisted calls for imposed quotas, she warned industry in February that if it failed to make headway, Berlin would intervene.

© 2011 AFP

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