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WOMEN

DAX companies oppose gender quota

A new survey shows Germany’s largest companies are overwhelmingly opposed to a mandatory quota for women in executive positions, with only one firm coming out in favour.

DAX companies oppose gender quota
Photo: DPA

The survey, conducted by daily Berliner Zeitung, indicates that 21 of the 30 DAX corporations reject the idea of a mandatory quota.

Only the Munich-based insurance giant Allianz came out tentatively in favour of a mandatory quota. Eight DAX corporations declined to take a position on the debate, while the rest said they were opposed.

Only 1 in 6 executive positions (17.6 percent) at DAX corporations are currently occupied by women.

The three companies with the lowest percentage of women in top posts are industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp (6 percent) and the chemical companies BASF (6.5 percent) and Kali+Salz (7 percent).

Allianz, with 33 percent, is Germany’s second-leading employer of executive women behind only Lufthansa, who employ 41 percent.

Karl-Ludwig Kley, chief executive of Darmstadt-based pharmaceutical company Merck, explained his company’s opposition to the mandatory quota.

“It makes little business sense to bring women into executive roles for the sole purpose of satisfying a quota,” he told news magazine Focus. Regardless of gender, age and ethnic origin, Kley said, “it is imperative that people in these positions are fully qualified for an executive role.”

But Kley said his company is in favour of markedly increasing the number of executive positions filled by women worldwide, and suggested setting a global goal of 25-30 percent by 2016.

dapd/The Local/adn

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ECONOMY

German consumer prices set to rise steeply amid war in Ukraine

Russia's war in Ukraine is slowing down the economy and accelerating inflation in Germany, the Ifo Institute has claimed.

German consumer prices set to rise steeply amid war in Ukraine

According to the Munich-based economics institute, inflation is expected to rise from 5.1 to 6.1 percent in March. This would be the steepest rise in consumer prices since 1982.

Over the past few months, consumers in Germany have already had to battle with huge hikes in energy costs, fuel prices and increases in the price of other everyday commodities.

READ ALSO:

With Russia and Ukraine representing major suppliers of wheat and grain, further price rises in the food market are also expected, putting an additional strain on tight incomes. 

At the same time, the ongoing conflict is set to put a dampener on the country’s annual growth forecasts. 

“We only expect growth of between 2.2 and 3.1 percent this year,” Ifo’s head of economic research Timo Wollmershäuser said on Wednesday. 

Due to the increase in the cost of living, consumers in Germany could lose around €6 billion in purchasing power by the end of March alone.

With public life in Germany returning to normal and manufacturers’ order books filling up, a significant rebound in the economy was expected this year. 

But the war “is dampening the economy through significantly higher commodity prices, sanctions, increasing supply bottlenecks for raw materials and intermediate products as well as increased economic uncertainty”, Wollmershäuser said.

Because of the current uncertainly, the Ifo Institute calculated two separate forecasts for the upcoming year.

In the optimistic scenario, the price of oil falls gradually from the current €101 per barrel to €82 by the end of the year, and the price of natural gas falls in parallel.

In the pessimistic scenario, the oil price rises to €140 per barrel by May and only then falls to €122 by the end of the year.

Energy costs have a particularly strong impact on private consumer spending.

They could rise between 3.7 and 5 percent, depending on the developments in Ukraine, sanctions on Russia and the German government’s ability to source its energy. 

On Wednesday, German media reported that the government was in the process of thrashing out an additional set of measures designed to support consumers with their rising energy costs.

The hotly debated measures are expected to be finalised on Wednesday evening and could include increased subsidies, a mobility allowance, a fuel rebate and a child bonus for families. 

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s proposals for future energy price relief

In one piece of positive news, the number of unemployed people in Germany should fall to below 2.3 million, according to the Ifo Institute.

However, short-time work, known as Kurzarbeit in German, is likely to increase significantly in the pessimistic scenario.

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