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Employee representatives

2023 Germany Spencer Stuart Board Index

2023 Snapshot

 39 %

of employee representatives are women


years is the average age of female employee representatives


years is the average age of all employee representatives

Employee representatives are part of the DNA of the German governance system. In September 2021 the DAX was expanded from 30 to 40 members. Out of the 10 new DAX members (Airbus, Brenntag, HelloFresh, Porsche Automobil Holding, Puma, Qiagen, Sartorius, Siemens Healthineers, Symrise, Zalando), four companies are subject to co-determination.


Foreign employee representatives account for around 7%; the range of nationalities has remained stable over the past four years.

The proportion of women continues its upward trajectory, from 35% in 2018 to around 39% in 2022. Germany’s quota law stipulates at least 30% of both genders for supervisory board members of listed companies and companies with equal codetermination. Among unitary boards in the DAX 40, which are also subject to the quota law, the proportion of women varies between 20% and 38%. The quota law stipulates that there must be at least 30% of both genders among supervisory board members of listed companies and companies with equal codetermination. Boards where there are no women on the employee representatives’ side are mostly not subject to co-determination, or are tripartite boards pursuant to Germany’s One-Third Participation Act, which are excluded from the quota law.

Average age and tenure

Like their shareholder counterparts, employees primarily elect more seasoned colleagues to the supervisory board. The average age of employee representatives is 55, marking a gradual increase from the 53 recorded in 2018. The age gap between male and female employee representatives has widened: on average, female employee representatives are 35 and male employee representatives are 56.

Provision of data continues to improve. Only one company in the DAX 40 did not disclose ages for the majority of their employee representatives. In 2020 ages were not disclosed for 4% of employee representatives; that proportion has dropped to 2.5%.

The average tenure of employee representatives is 5.4 years (compared to 5.7 in 2020). This level of tenure is very slightly below that of the shareholder representatives.

Union representatives

About 20% (50) of all employee representatives are representatives of the various German unions.