Munich Young, female, internationally experienced and digitally savvy: This is how Robin Brohl imagines the ideal new appointment for a supervisory board. A dream? Not at all, says the founder of the start-up “Hire Digital Talent”.
With his self-developed software, the entrepreneur has searched the major career portals on the Internet. The result: 6,000 women in Germany were competent enough to move into the supervisory bodies of listed companies in Germany, 300 would fit perfectly.
Women are underrepresented on supervisory boards, they only occupy a third of the seats. A serious mistake, says Brohl: “How should innovations come about if everyone thinks the same way?”
And that’s not all: in cases where men would have chosen women as inspectors, it would be precisely those who had the same qualifications as themselves. “We have the same level of supervisory boards in Germany,” complains the Munich-based entrepreneur.
There is no shortage of candidates who have what it takes to advance the companies in the country on the Supervisory Board. To find out, Brohl fed its personnel search software “Apollo” with the necessary requirements that are imposed on supervisors.
To this end, he used artificial intelligence algorithms that analyzed specialist texts on supervisory boards. This resulted in a requirement profile, with which the program examined the profiles of women on career portals such as Xing and LinkedIn.
The result is clear, says the native of Hamburg: There are numerous women who could supplement the supervisory boards as digital experts. Brohl: “Differentness is a success factor.”
Women’s quota met
A supervisory board women quota has been in place in Germany since 2016. Places that become vacant must be filled by women until their share is 30 percent. The companies have now achieved this goal: At the end of October, almost one in three supervisory board positions in the 186 largest listed German companies was held by a woman.
Compared to the last evaluation by the organization “Women on the Supervisory Boards” from June, the proportion rose from 30.9 to 31.8 percent. Last year it was 28.1 percent. Before the quota was introduced, many companies claimed that there were not enough suitable candidates.
As positive as the development was, the key positions were still held by men, the Allbright Foundation determined in a spring study. They would appoint almost all CEOs, more than 90 percent of all chairmen of the supervisory board and a good 80 percent of all members in the committees responsible for appointing new board members. Most of all, the men would recruit men who were similar to them.
Supervisory board members in Germany are not only frequently called Thomas, Stefan or Michael. You also studied over 80 percent in Munich or Hamburg. Two thirds are lawyers, engineers or economists. Almost a quarter have experience as CEO.
Break the cycle
Brohl believes that he can break this cycle with his digital talent software. “We search without prejudice,” he says. So algorithms instead of gut feeling.
With “Hire Digital Talent”, Brohl is trying to stir up the business of headhunters. He relies on highly automated processes. On the one hand, it is cheaper for companies to find professionally experienced people with him. The fixed price per job is 8000 euros net.
Above all, however, the software can be used to determine exactly the right personnel. The only requirement: The companies would have to formulate precisely what qualifications they were looking for.
Brohl’s commitment to colorful supervisory boards is not only due to the fact that it was founded in the spring. It is also due to your own biography.
After the ninth grade, he left school to start an apprenticeship as a bricklayer. He later completed an apprenticeship as a warehouse specialist, built up a few call centers as a young man, studied business administration and got his MBA, was with the start-up company Rocket Internet, at Media-Saturn and Home 24.
If everything goes as planned, the entrepreneur will soon be looking for more than just new customers. He plans to hire 100 employees for his start-up in the next two years. Should the company change its name to a stock corporation one day, it will of course be measured by its own words and will have to provide a supervisory board with female experts.
More: More and more people are choosing to work less. Having time is the new status symbol. Where does this trend come from and what does it do to the economy and society?