International Handbook on Diversity Management at Work

International Handbook on Diversity Management at Work

Country Perspectives on Diversity and Equal Treatment

Elgar original reference

Edited by Alain Klarsfeld

Managing and developing diversity is on the political and business agenda in many countries; therefore diversity management has become an area of knowledge and practice in its own right. Yet all too often it is referred to as a unifying concept, as if it were to be interpreted uniformly across all cultures and countries. The contributors to this volume expertly examine the relationship between diversity management and equality legislation within the different participating countries’ national contexts. They advocate that such separation and sequencing between equality at work and diversity management is far from natural.

Chapter 6: Social Inequality, Diversity and Equal Treatment at Work: The German Case

Verena Bruchhagen, Jürgen Grieger, Iris Koall, Renate Ortlieb, Michael Meuser and Barbara Sieben

Subjects: business and management, diversity and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour


Verena Bruchhagen, Jürgen Grieger, Iris Koall, Michael Meuser, Renate Ortlieb and Barbara Sieben 1. Demographic development, equal treatment legislation, institutionalization and professionalization 1.1 Demographic and labour force structure First, we give a short overview of the German population and labour force, in order to convey an impression of how population diversity is represented in German organizations. We concentrate on the diversity dimensions of gender, ethnicity/migration background, age and disability. 1.1.1 Gender In 2006, around 82.3 million people – 42.0 million women and 40.3 million men – lived in Germany (Statistisches Bundesamt, 2008). Women are underrepresented in the labour force: with a total labour force participation rate of people aged between 15 and 65 of 75 per cent, the participation rate of women is 68 per cent, compared with the men’s rate of around 81 per cent (ibid.). Only 28 per cent of management positions are held by women (Holst, 2007). The comparatively low representation of women in the labour force, especially in management positions, can be traced back mainly to their roles as family and household caretakers and the very poor provision of governmental child care institutions in Germany. For many years, women’s participation in the labour force has been increasing continuously, and women have become better educated. Nevertheless, the gender pay gap is tremendous: with women averaging only 82 per cent of men’s pay, Germany is among those nations with the largest gender pay gap in Europe (Busch and Holst, 2008). What is interesting to note is the setting in...

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