TALK | Sabine Hansen Peck, CEO of Amadeus IT-Group: Diversity and Promotion of Women


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In the interview, Sabine Hansen Peck, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Brand and Communication of the Amadeus IT Group, talks about women on the board, women's promotion and family policy.

Sabine Hansen Peck holds a master's degree in organizational psychology from the Catholic University of Eichstätt. In addition, she holds an MBA in International Business Management from Thunderbird, School of Global Management (USA). Since November 2009, she is senior vice president, human resources, brand and communications at Amadeus and responsible for human resources and internal communications worldwide. The Amadeus Group, with headquarters in Madrid, Nice and Erding, and other 71 locations worldwide, provides IT solutions to the tourism industry. He employs around 13.000 employees worldwide and generated 2014's total revenue of 3,4177 billion. Hansen Peck works in Madrid and is a member of the Amadeus Executive Management Team. Previously, she held senior human resources positions with Citigroup and Gate Group, and served as executive director on Bank Handlowy's board.




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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherConsultant and head of the Institute's job pictures Yourweb.

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Mrs Hansen Peck, there are also several initiatives in Germany that are designed to inspire women for technical professions. But they seem to have little desire.

I can not confirm this: more than a quarter of our technical workforce are women. And in our top management there are next to me with Julia Sattel and Ana de Pro still two more women.

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Together with colleges, we are organizing Girls-Days at our largest development site and planning women's hackathons in our development centers with the aim of increasing the attractiveness of a job in the IT industry for women.

In addition, we have just appointed a Chief Diversity Officer. And headhunters are obliged to recommend female candidates for every position.

Sounds good. The public discussion shows, however, that women are facing a serious conflict of interest between work and children. Or is this a specifically German phenomenon?

This is neither a specifically German problem nor new. Government policy and employer policies can set the framework, but in the end, the particular situation of a couple or even an individual is the important factor. Germany has set up one of the most generous paid parental leave in the world. And, of course, Nordic's family policy is even better.

But not every good example from country can work in another country. There are positive developments in parental leave in many European countries. In Spain, for example, fathers can now take up part of their parents' time - which was previously only possible for mothers. And there is no direct link between a parental age and, for example, the number of women in leadership positions.

Do managers with adequate financial resources find it easier or harder to combine work and family?

It is not easy to find the balance between a career and child-rearing - or even care for older parents, no matter what position you are in. It always means juggling and compromising with time and obligations - which is perhaps easier for female board members with corresponding disposable income.

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There are some well-known examples of female leaders who have successfully struck the right balance, such as Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, two children, Christine Lagarde, Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund, two children, Susan Wojcick, YouTube Chief Executive Officer, two children, or Ana Patrica Botin, Santander Chief Executive Officer, three children.

Nor do I believe that financial or fiscal issues play a central role when it comes to getting children or not. Many more, employers need to understand the lives of their employees and adopt their own, as well as provide them with support during all phases of their life and enable flexibility. In my opinion, it is not only a different policy, but also a change in the minds of all concerned.

What does it look like in Amadeus?

That's exactly what we aim for at all Amadeus locations. We are working hard to provide career development opportunities for our female employees while leaving enough room for the family.

In Bad Homburg, one of our main locations in Germany, 20 percent of our managers are female and, as mentioned earlier, a quarter of 500 employees enjoy flexible working hours.

At other locations, we offer flexible employment contracts and times, home office options, comprehensive support for personal and family issues, tax-privileged nursery and kindergarten fees, parental leave for mothers, fathers and much more.

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What has been the result of these efforts?

In addition, there are several initiatives to increase the number of women at Amadeus, especially in the technical functions. For example, we support the 2014-based Amadeus Women Network. This program has set itself the goal of improving the career and career development of women at Amadeus as well as the work-life balance.

At Amadeus, there are also successful female executives who pursue their professional careers while raising children. These include Ana de Pro, our Chief Financial Officer, and Cristina Fernández, our Head of Investor Relations, to name but a few.

What are the benefits? Company of women's promotion?

A number of studies have shown that a mixed board will benefit a company in every respect and lead to better business results. As far as women on the board is concerned, however, there is still a long way to go, despite many progress over the past few years.

The Executive Committee of Amadeus consists of 30 percent of women, and in fact we bring other experiences, ways of thinking and problem-solving strategies to the board table. All this is a positive factor in the discussions. In addition, 30 is critical enough to drive the change in corporate culture towards greater diversity.

An aging population with declining birth rates will force companies to show more creativity when attracting new employees. This is one of the reasons, if not the only, why diversity is so important. We need men and women, different cultures and several generations at workplaces.

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