50.5 years is the best age for being managing director

On average managing directors of German companies are 50.5 years old. This is the finding of a recent survey by Bürgel Wirtschaftsinformationen which examined the age structure of about 881.000 executives heading companies which are entered in the commercial register. Most managing directors, i.e. 16.9%, are between 40 and 44 years of age, followed by those who are between 45 and 49 years old (16.6%) and those in the group ranging from 50 to 54 years (14.5%). The percentage of managing directors beyond the age 70 is 5.6% while that of managing directors under 30 is 2.0%.

What is striking is the fact that in all the New Laender the age of executives is below the national average of 50.5 years. The youngest bosses can be found in Saxony (49.3 years). Also below the German average are bosses in Berlin (49.4 years), Bavaria (49.7 years) and in Hesse (50.4 years). With an average of 53.1 years the oldest bosses can be found in Bremen.

Most of the almost 887.000 managing directors of the companies questioned work in the Federal States of North Rhine-Westphalia (210.786) and Bavaria (142.919). On a per capita basis, however, most managing directors work in Hamburg: 1.6% of all inhabitants of Hamburg fill an executive position. In proportion to the number of inhabitants the percentage of bosses is also relatively high in Berlin (1.4%) and Hesse (1.2%). Significantly fewer bosses can be found in Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia (0.8%) as well as in Bremen und Saxony (0.9%).

Apart from being the Land with the oldest bosses there is another remarkable fact about the little city state of Bremen: Here the percentage of top manageresses is lowest in the whole of Germany (13.5%). Most executive opportunities to women can be found in Berlin where the proportion of women in top positions is 18.0%. In the Saarland this figure is 17.3% and 16.7% in Bavaria.

About 92% of top manageresses and 93% of top managers under the age of 25 start their careers in a small company with up to nine employees. The survey also shows that as they grow older men tend to prefer major companies while women abide by their small company. Most men change to major companies when they are in the age group ranging from the mid-thirties to sixty. Once top managers are beyond the age of 60 their percentage rises again with regard to small companies. GERMAN