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Women in Top-Level Management Attract Male Applicants


Companies with women in top-level management are scoring with female and male applicants. These are the results from a recent study conducted by HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management and the employer branding company Universum.

The study examined whether and how much diversity on executive boards influences the appeal of companies as employers. Within the framework of the study, Fabienne Gaberle, 25, a student from HHL's Master Program in Management (M.Sc.), analyzed the 45 most popular employers based on the 2008-2013 employer rankings published by Universum. Business students were interviewed for these rankings.

The study was prepared at the Chair of International Management. Chairholder Jun.-Prof. Dr. Tobias Dauth says, "Diversity in top-level management teams is a very current topic in research and the business press. However, it is not clear yet what diversity actually does and whether it really positively affects a company's success." Fabienne Gaberle's examinations meanwhile have shown that diversity in top-level management does indeed influence the attractiveness of companies for potential employees.

There are, however, significant differences between the individual characteristics of diversity such as gender, nationality and age. According to the HHL professor, the strongest diversity dimensions are gender and nationality. "The employer ranking results of companies with diverse top-level management teams in these categories are better than those of companies not having diverse management teams," says Jun.-Prof. Dauth. No influence on employer attractiveness could be determined with regard to age as a characteristic.

The study also shows that companies actively promoting gender diversity within their executive boards become more attractive to both female and male applicants. Says Jun.-Prof. Dauth, "If companies decide to increase the number of women in top-level management teams, they will become more attractive to male applicants or students as well." Fabienne Gaberle showed with her analysis that companies with a diverse top-level management team climbed up about 13 positions on average between 2008 and 2013 in the Universum ranking.

No trend was apparent for companies with less or no diverse top-level management teams. They show positive, negative and stable development regarding employer attractiveness. Stefan Lake, Country Manager Germany at Universum, comments on the results of the study, "The survey shows that companies can score points with young talents by having more women on their executive boards.

However, simply increasing the number of women in top-level management will not be enough. Companies should take into account other aspects of diversity as well. Companies believably demonstrating that they have room for various personalities fulfil students' expectations regarding diversity. If companies want to benefit from their employees' diversity, it must be implemented as a company value and lived by everyone."

About HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management and Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Junior Professorship in International Management

HHL is a university-level institution and ranks amongst the leading international business schools. The goal of the oldest business school in German-speaking Europe is to educate effective, responsible and entrepreneurially-minded leaders. In addition to HHL’s international focus, the combination of theory and practice plays a key role. HHL stands out for its excellent teaching, its clear research focus, its effective knowledge transfer into practice as well as its outstanding student services.

On April 1, 2013, Jun.-Prof. Dr. Tobias Dauth, 32, was appointed the new Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Junior Professor for International Management at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management. The Junior Professorship in International Management with a German-Polish focus is sponsored by the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation.

About Universum

Universum is the global specialist and pioneer of employer branding. Every year, the firm interviews more than 700,000 students and young professionals in almost 40 countries all over the world in close cooperation with more than 2,000 universities to find out about their employer preferences, career plans and preferred ways of communication. The results of the survey provide the basis for the Universum Employer Ranking and studies analyzing the driving forces of employer attractiveness. Based on the findings from these surveys and studies, companies and institutions can improve their employees' satisfaction and attractiveness as an employers. More information on Universum is available at and

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Volker Stößel | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

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