Since 2017, the Competence Centre for Diversity and Inclusion publishes the annual Gender Intelligence Report together with Advance. For this purpose, in 2021 we analysed more than 90 companies (100 or more employees) in Switzerland. This year, anonymised data from approximately 320,000 employees, 122,000 of whom are in management are included. Although the study is not representative in the statistical sense, as it does not take SMEs fully into account, it does allow conclusions to be drawn about how gender equality in Switzerland is developing in medium-sized and larger companies and what measures are currently being implemented by the companies – especially with a focus on the perennial issue of women in management positions. In this, three positive developments stand out:

The turnover rates of women and men in management, but largely also among employees overall, are converging and are now almost identical. This indicates that corporate cultures are improving their ability to leverage diversity and are no longer only made for men by men.

This year, for the first time, we see a shrinking disadvantage of near-full-time positions in promotions. In recent years, employees with an employment percentage between 80 and 99% have been promoted significantly less often, with large differences between sectors. For the first time, this year’s results show hardly any differences in promotions compared to full-time employees.

Wage discrimination in the narrower sense (equal pay for equal work or work of equal value) is relatively low. The deadline for reviewing wages expired at the end of June. At the CCDI we have analysed or advised numerous companies in this regard. In our sample, only three percent exceeded the Confederation’s tolerance value of five percent for the unexplained wage difference for work of equal value.

Nevertheless, much remains to be done. In terms of equal pay, employment discrimination is the biggest challenge. The high-wage sector – be it in higher management positions or STEM professions – is still dominated by men. This is related to the images in our heads or so-called unconscious biases. Unconsciously, we still see men in leadership positions, and women taking care of the children. Consequently, many professions and leadership positions remain strongly segregated by gender. However, many of our structures and processes are still based on old images: For example, companies expecting a candidate to have a certain number of years of experience or very specific training when applying to

generalist management positions or a government with a tax system adding up incomes and thus setting a false incentive for a higher employment level for women.

We can all contribute to making equality a reality more quickly – on a small and large scale. As leaders, we can also counteract the looming shortage of skilled workers and managers and maintain the innovative force of our companies. Learn more at and register for the 5th D&I Week at

About the author(s)

Portrait Gudrun Sander 246

Prof. Dr. Gudrun Sander Director Competence Centre for Diversity and Inclusion


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