1. Home
  2. Studies
  3. Orphaned executive chairs in German companies
Andrea Hammermann / Oliver Stettes IW-Report No. 16 28. March 2024 Orphaned executive chairs in German companies

In 2023, half of the companies in Germany reported increasing problems in filling vacancies for management positions because employees are not aiming for a career. Larger companies are less affected than small companies.

Download PDF
Orphaned executive chairs in German companies
Andrea Hammermann / Oliver Stettes IW-Report No. 16 28. March 2024

Orphaned executive chairs in German companies

German Economic Institute (IW) German Economic Institute (IW)

In 2023, half of the companies in Germany reported increasing problems in filling vacancies for management positions because employees are not aiming for a career. Larger companies are less affected than small companies.

The probability of staffing problems is around 20 percentage points lower in companies with 250 or more employees than in small companies with up to 49 employees. Companies report relatively frequently about increasing difficulties in filling vacancies for management positions if they also have major recruitment difficulties on the external labour market.

Four out of ten employees without management responsibility intend to move up the career ladder in their current company during the next three to five years. Women do not differ from men in this respect. Women are only less likely to aspire to further career advancement if they have already reached a management position. In principle, managers show a much greater interest in (further) career advancement than employees without management responsibility. This suggests a self-selection of people who value or are more willing to accept certain job characteristics associated with management positions.

For example, those who prefer to combine professional demands and private commitments in terms of time and space more closely are also more likely to want to climb the career ladder. The requirements concerning working time are high for managers. They mainly work full-time. Part-time employment significantly reduces the likelihood of employees without management responsibility wanting a career in their current company. The need to cancel holidays or days off at short notice (only employees without management responsibility) and the feeling of not being able to perform their own work with the necessary care also seem to have a negative impact on (further) career ambitions (both managers and employees without management responsibility).

How employees perceive their working environment also influences their aspirations for career advancement. This is supported by the fact that a negative perception of stress reduces the desire to pursue a career among both managers and employees without management responsibility. A positive working environment with opportunities for further development as well as a good working atmosphere strengthens employees' career ambitions.

Management should keep the mechanism of self-selection in mind when defining the requirements for managers and general conditions for career paths. This requires not only a clear prioritisation, but also an examination of how to reduce career barriers. Politics should keep in mind that the designing of career paths is an entrepreneurial task and therefore be cautious to formulate political goals for the representation of certain groups of employees.

Download PDF
Orphaned executive chairs in German companies
Andrea Hammermann / Oliver Stettes IW-Report No. 16 28. March 2024

Orphaned executive chairs in German companies

German Economic Institute (IW) German Economic Institute (IW)

More on the topic

Read the article
Determinants of personnel planning in Germany
Michael Grömling / Stefanie Seele IW-Report No. 27 21. May 2024

Determinants of personnel planning in Germany

The German labor market has been growing since 2005. The dip in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic between 2020 and 2022 is an exception, as the German labor market has reached a record level of 45.9 million people in employment by 2023.

IW

Read the article
Carolin Fulda / Oliver Stettes IW-Report No. 25 10. May 2024

What factors influence the career ambitions of people with disabilities?

Many companies in Germany report having difficulties not only in recruiting employees, but also in filling vacant management positions.

IW

More about this topic

Content element with id 8880 Content element with id 9713