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Men twice as often in executive positions as women

Corrections in the first and second paragraph

According to the census results for reference date 9 May 2011, 6.8% (1.5 million) of the total of 21.4 million men in employment worked as executives. The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) also reports that the proportion of women in executive positions in relation to the total of 18.8 million women in employment was 3.0% (0.6 million). This means that men were twice as often in executive positions as women.

In the younger age groups, the difference between women and men in executive positions is still small. Among the 30 to 45 year olds, however, the proportion of executives in men is markedly higher than in women, whose share grows just moderately with age. The largest difference between women and men regarding executive positions is observed towards the end of working life in the age group of 60 to 64 years. In this age group, 9.7% of the men have an executive position, whereas the proportion among women is just 3.9%. In this age group, both sexes reach their highest percentages of executives.

When examining executives by their status in employment, the proportion is highest among self-employed with employees. Also, in this group the proportions of male executives (23.8%) and of female executives (22.1%) are almost the same. Among female public officials, the share of executives (3.6%) is slightly above average, while the proportion of executives in female salaried employees and wage earners is just 2.3%. In turn, the proportion of executives in male employees (5.6%) is higher than in public officials (5.1%).

Marked differences between men and women are also observed with regard to their current job. More than half of the women in employment have a job in the fields of "Healthcare and social occupations, teaching and education" and "Business organisation, law and administration". Occupations of "Sales, distribution and tourism" are also frequent among women (18.5%). A major field of male occupations is "Raw materials extraction, production and manufacturing" with 29.6%.

Table 1: proportion men and women in employment by occupational sector
Occupational sectors of the national Classification of Occupations, 2010TotalMenWomen
Agriculture, forestry, animal production and horticulture2.43.11.7
Raw materials extraction, production and manufacturing19.229.67.4
Construction, architecture, surveying and building technology6.411.30.9
Natural sciences, geography and computer science3.24.81.4
Transport, logistics, protection and security13.515.810.8
Sales, distribution and tourism13.79.418.5
Business organisation, law and administration19.814.126.3
Healthcare and social occupations, teaching and education18.38.229.8
Humanities, culture and design3.13.03.2
Armed forces0.50.80.1

Most persons in employment are distributed among a rather small number of current types of occupation. For women, this is even more distinct than for men. In the 20 most frequent types of occupation out of a total of 1,286, there are as many as 42.6% of all women in employment and 26.7% of all men in employment. At the top of the ranking of the types of occupation mentioned most frequently by women there is office and secretarial staff with a share of 6.0% (1.1 million), whereas for men it is professional drivers with a proportion of 2.6% (0.6 million). The second most frequently mentioned type of occupation among women is cleaner with a share of 4.8% (0.9 million). For men it is managing directors and chief executives with a share of 2.1% (0.5 million), which at first sight may seem surprising. However, many persons in employment classified themselves under the rather general term of managing director.

Table 2: the 20 types of occupation mentioned most often by men and women
Unit groups of the national
Classification of Occupations, 2010
1,000%Unit groups of the national
Classification of Occupations, 2010
no sp.: no specialisation
o.s.w.d.: other specific work description
Occupations, total21,410.93100Occupations, total18,768.78100
Top 20, total5,721.4726.7Top 20, total7,999.0542.6
Professional drivers (goods transport/lorries) - skilled staff564.962.6Office and secretarial staff (no sp.) - skilled staff1,121.786.0
Managing directors and chief executives - expert455.992.1Cleaning (no sp.) - unskilled staff894.034.8
Storage - skilled staff400.081.9Commercial and technical business administration (no sp.) - skilled staff707.443.8
Motor vehicle engineering - skilled staff386.361.8Healthcare and nursing care (no sp.) - skilled staff562.153.0
Mechanical engineering and operating technology (no sp.) - skilled staff370.031.7Sales (no product sp.) - skilled staff553.042.9
Building services engineering (no sp.) - skilled staff364.581.7Childcare and education - skilled staff492.782.6
Storage - unskilled staff335.351.6Public administration (no sp.) - skilled staff385.862.1
Commercial and technical business administration (no sp.) - skilled staff322.971.5Catering assistance (no sp.) - skilled staff347.791.9
Machine and system operators - skilled staff304.171.4Medical assistants (no sp.) - skilled staff337.781.8
Metal construction - skilled staff266.741.2Bookkeeping - specialist306.671.6
Sales (no product sp.) - skilled staff222.681.0Aged care (no sp.) - skilled staff298.471.6
Building electrics - skilled staff222.391.0Secondary school teachers - expert289.271.5
Sanitary, heating and air conditioning technology - skilled staff210.511.0Sales (clothing, leather and sporting goods) - skilled staff259.871.4
Metal cutting - skilled staff205.981.0Bank officers - skilled staff237.351.3
Distribution (except ICT) - specialist200.140.9Storage - unskilled staff232.151.2
Drivers in road transport (o.s.w.d.) - skilled staff184.870.9Sales of bakery and pastry products - skilled staff227.661.2
Executives - business organisation and strategy182.490.9Cooks (no sp.) - unskilled staff200.271.1
Painting and varnishing - skilled staff174.360.8Dental assistants - skilled staff185.391.0
Supervisors - business organisation and strategy173.80.8Hairdressers' trade - skilled staff184.621.0
Office and secretarial staff (no sp.) - skilled staff173.010.8Primary school teachers - expert174.640.9

Methodological notes:

The information on executives and occupations is based on the household sample survey of the 2011 Census. In the household survey, about 9.6% of Germany's population were questioned on their current job, coded in accordance with the national Classification of Occupations (KldB 2010) and expanded. The KldB 2010 allows to identify executives through the classification code. The following classification codes were analysed: XXX94 (executives), 71104 (managing directors and chief executives – expert), 71214 (legislators – expert) and 71224 (senior officials of special-interest organisations – expert). Not included were supervisors (XXX93), which include master craftsman occupations and other occupations such as team leader or office manager. The military sector was excluded, too. More information on the structure of the KldB 2010 and on the definition of supervisors and executives is available at the Federal Employment Agency:

Persons in employment are counted according to the employment status concept of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

For reasons of data protection, it was not possible in the household survey of the 2011 Census to cover employment and education variables for persons in specific collective and institutional living quarters. Also, for members of the Federal Armed Forces, the police authorities and the foreign service who work abroad and for their families living there, no employment and education variables were covered.

Charts and extensive tables containing the most important census data, some with a detailed regional breakdown, are available for download on the website of the Federal Statistical Office and at

For further information:
Matthias Eisenmenger,
tel: +49 611 75 3275,

Stefan Schweinert-Albinus
tel: +49 611 75 4504
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