Diversity and Equal Opportunities

  • GRI 405
  • GRI 405-1
  • GRI 406
  • GRI 406-1

We want all United Internet employees to be treated with respect and have equal opportunities, regardless of their nationality, ethnic origin, religion, ideological beliefs, gender and gender identity, age, disability, or sexual orientation and identity. Each employee should be able to find the area of activity and function in which they can make the most of their individual potential and talents.

Consequently, we ensure this topic is on the agenda in all areas of the Company, from selection and recruitment processes down to human resources development. Personal suitability and commitment are the sole criteria for employee development and careers with us. This is explained transparently for everyone on our internal employee development and career pages.

The following diversity statement, which we drew up in 2019, serves as the mission statement for all the Company’s diversity activities:

Diversity Statement

Respect for diversity is a core aspect of United Internet’s corporate culture. The reason for this is simple: only a workforce that mirrors the many different facets of society offers the best possible conditions for creativity and productivity, and makes employees – and the organization itself – unique. This unique diversity creates an incomparable wealth of potential ideas and innovations, increasing the Company’s competitiveness and providing opportunities for all.

Our diversity measures are planned, managed, and enhanced by an interdisciplinary project team set up in 2020.

The reason is simple: diversity is a factor influencing employee satisfaction and one of the key decision-making criteria used by job applicants when selecting employers. To reflect our approach to diversity, our employee survey asks whether respondents agree with the statement that “The organization treats all employees equally, regardless of their age, gender, religion, or origin etc.” The responses received to this question are very positive and strengthen our commitment to treating one another respectfully.

We discuss the importance of diversity for our Company during the onboarding events for new recruits. We also use the online training course from “Initiative Chefsache” entitled “Unconscious Bias: How to Ensure Impartial Human Resources Decisions” as part of our onboarding training for new managers.

We refuse to tolerate any form of discrimination, harassment, or bullying in the workplace. United Internet has a number of different contacts who can be approached confidentially, such as Human Resources, Compliance, and trained persons of trust. We take any indications of discrimination extremely seriously and are committed to clarifying all issues reported to us.

Implementing Diversity

  • GRI 102-8
  • GRI 401-1

The following table provides a breakdown of our staff by gender and age. In addition, 10.69% of our core employees worked part-time in 2020 (2019: 10.73%; 2018: 10.00%).

Employees by gender(1) in %












(1) The information refers to our active employees not including student workers, school students, interns, thesis students, and temporary staff as of December 31 of each fiscal year.

Women accounted for 33.55% (2019: 32.88%) of new hires and 31.15% (2019: 19.15%) of newly recruited managers in the reporting period. As of December 31, 2020, there were 40 (2019: 37; 2018: 33) women in the top two levels of management – a quota of 17% (2019: 16%; 2018: 14%). This means we are eight women short of the 18% target (2019: 6; 2018: 10), an increase in the gap year-on-year. Since we have not yet met our target, we see the need for continued action in 2021.

Employees by age(1) in %




under 30












50 years and above




(1) Figures refer to our active employees as of December 31 of each fiscal year.

The average age of our employees as of December 31, 2020, was 39.43 (2019: 38.09; 2018: 38). The average age of newly recruited core staff in the reporting period was 33.02 (2019: 32.98(1); 2018: 32.2).

(1) The 2019 figure was adjusted due to the inclusion of Strato, home.pl, United Domains, and World4You.

Employees by employment type and gender(1)



Women, full-time



Men, full-time



Women, part-time



Men, part-time



(1) The information refers to our active employees not including student workers, school students, interns, thesis students, and temporary staff as of December 31 of each fiscal year.

Employees by employment contract and region(1)


Women, temporary employment contracts


Men, temporary employment contracts


Women, permanent employment contracts


Men, permanent employment contracts


Temporary employment contracts, Germany


Temporary employment contracts, outside Germany


Permanent employment contracts, Germany


Permanent employment contracts, outside Germany


(1) The figures refer to our active employees as of December 31 of each fiscal year.

Data collection was expanded in fiscal year 2020 in order to meet the increased requirements of the GRI Standards, and to enhance transparency and comparability.

Gender Diversity

We have set ourselves the target of appointing women to 18% of the posts in the top two management levels. In line with this, diversity was a particular focus for us in 2020.

“Our interdisciplinary project team uses the ‘United in Diversity’ motto to drive forward diversity within the organization. We not only review concrete projects but also aim to sensitize and inspire as many colleagues as possible with the information that we provide and with our actions, and to be a contact point for employee questions and ideas. This ensures a richly plural environment and fair treatment within the Company, and helps guarantee its long-term success.”

Anne Keck, Senior Consultant Learning, United Internet Corporate Services, GmbH


We have taken the following measures to achieve our target quota for women in management:

1.  Employer branding/HR marketing

Our goal is to enhance our attractiveness as an employer to women on the market and to appoint more women to vacant positions. We aim to do this by participating in relevant events; using gender-neutral language in advertisements; reviewing and, if necessary redesigning, internal processes; and starting early, with our apprentice marketing activities.

We are also a member of “Komm mach MINT” (German only), a nationwide networking initiative that aims to encourage girls and women to study mathematics, IT, natural sciences, and technology, and to aim for careers in this area.

2.  Development

Our goal is to use appropriate training offerings and potential assessment processes to sensitize our managers for, and equip them to deal with, gender bias and stereotypes, as well as to prepare women to take positions involving management or specialist responsibility and to empower them thereafter.

3.  Networking/information sharing and communication

We aim to increase awareness of (gender) diversity within the organization and to help anchor it even more firmly as a living part of our corporate culture using a variety of different networking and information sharing formats.

4.  Framework

The goal is to create and strengthen suitable conditions for gender diversity within the Company. We aim to continue doing this via our Employee Assistance program in particular.

A Look Back on 2020

We start actively advancing the situation of women at all levels of the Company very early, e.g., by offering school students programming courses that are taught by our vocational trainees. We held two such courses in 2020 in cooperation with BeoNetzwerk des Stadtjugendausschuss e.V. Karlsruhe.

Our participation in other planned events had to be abandoned because of the COVID-19 pandemic. These included the nationwide Girls’ and Boys’ Days, and the “her Career” and “women & work” job fairs, which were canceled by the organizers at short notice. In some cases virtual versions of these formats are being planned for the coming year, and we intend to participate.

During the revamp of our career web pages we introduced the “Gendersternchen” (the asterisk form used for gendering German terms) and gender-neutral forms of address to ensure we are addressing everyone equally, regardless of gender.

We have also set up “Women explore” – a talent and network offering – for our female employees. In 2020, 70 women from all areas of the Company took part, and another event is being planned for 2021. “Women explore” is designed to increase women’s visibility within the Company, to enable them to network with one another and to actively examine their strengths and their career and networking strategies, and to draw conclusions for the Company as whole. The participants attended in-person and virtual network meetings, collaborated in self-organized learning groups, and shared information and opinions with the program owner on the Management Board and a variety of managers and experts. This helped raised overall awareness of the issue and triggered valuable discussions. Among other things, it allowed our organization to identify insights and generate ideas for further improvements in the areas of gender diversity and increasing the number of women in management positions.

In addition to the positive feedback received from the participants themselves, the “Women explore” program was also honored with an external accolade, winning the Human Resources Excellence Awards 2020 in the “Large Company Diversity & Female Empowerment” category. This prize is given every year to innovative flagship projects in the area of human resources management.

We also used “Women explore” to establish a pool of 20 female role models who act as discussion partners and mentors within the Company and clearly demonstrate a range of potential career paths for women at United Internet.

In addition, our role models and other female colleagues give presentation and lectures at external events on careers at United Internet. For example, this year we took part in a series of events showcasing exciting, inspiring, and courageous women who are driving their organizations forward that was organized by Digital Media Women e.V.

We provide our female managers and experts with networking and development offerings such as the regular “Women in Management” get-together and the “Female Leadership” workshop.

Work-life Balance

Diversity also depends on all employees being able to easily combine their family duties with their profession. In line with this, a pilot project offers staff the ability to work remotely from home on individual “cover days” without a particular reason.

The external, independent family service that we set up in 2019 offers tailor-made assistance where needed: support with childcare (e.g., free emergency childcare places for children up to 12 years of age); vacation programs (including virtual formats); tips on the German statutory parental allowance, kindergartens, and the like; finding home helps; and assistance with care for family members and in personal emergencies. This allowed us to offer staff ongoing support in challenging situations, particularly during the COVID-19 period.

Since 2020 we have also offered regular networking events and lectures on subjects such as “parental leave and careers.” This allows participants to swap experiences and best-practice examples.

An International Mindset

United Internet’s world knows no borders: we are not just Europe’s leading internet specialist but are also increasingly present and successful in countries such as Canada, Mexico, and the USA. Within Germany, too, more and more people from other countries enhance our teams. We help everyone to interact positively by holding training courses and presentations on intercultural skills.

Certain divisions have adopted English as their corporate language. We offer courses for staff to learn English and German so as to ensure optimum communication on specialist subjects, and also set up tandem partnerships for peer-to-peer language learning.

We have also trained people with refugee backgrounds as apprentices for several years now. Then, once they have completed their training, we provide them with career prospects and play an active role in integrating them into society by giving them permanent positions.

Equally, United Internet’s customers with their wide range of needs appreciate us as a business partner who matches their own diversity. We aim to cater to these customer wishes using a variety of different product ranges and pricing systems that are developed by diverse teams. Our ability to service different national markets also demonstrates our international orientation.


The PrOut@Work foundation and the UHLALA Group use the “Germany’s Top 50 LGBT+ Voices 2020” award to raise awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and inter people in the workplace, and hence to send a signal in favor of diversity. The honor is given to LGBT+ standard-bearers in companies who not only demand more equality for themselves but also serve as a voice for, and represent, their queer colleagues.

We are very proud that Michelle Thiele, one of our staff members, was among the award winners for the second year in a row. Michelle has had a successful career at 1&1 Telecommunication SE for 12 years. Although born with a man's body, she self-identified as a woman from an early age. Since 2018, she has also been an openly transgender woman at work. Now, supported by the acceptance and recognition she has received for her courage in taking this step, she works actively within the Company to raise awareness for the needs of queer people, and as a contact and support for trans and inter employees.

There are plans to set up an internal LGBT+ network together with other colleagues.

Outlook on Diversity and Equal Opportunities

While we have already successfully implemented a large number of measures relating to diversity and equal opportunities, we aim to continue and expand this work in the coming year. We will be focusing in 2021 on the issue of unconscious bias, and will launch communications, development, and networking offerings. These aim to encourage managers and staff throughout the Company to think consciously about stereotypes and diversity, and to enable them to promote the latter in practice in their own roles and working environments.

Fair Pay

  • GRI 102-41
  • GRI 405-2

Paying our employees fairly and in line with performance is an important part of our human resources strategy. We aim to provide staff with market-driven, fair and transparent compensation and benefits that are aligned with our corporate strategy. Our internal compensation guidelines form the basis for our comparable, fair, and legally compliant compensation system. They clearly define the rules and procedures to be observed throughout the Group when making salary adjustments.

Some positions and levels of responsibility offer performance-based variable compensation components. In addition, the United Internet Group offers employees a number of benefits above and beyond the financial compensation it pays; these include a company pension, capital formation benefits, prevention programs forming part of our occupational health program, and discounts on our products.

The salaries we pay, and the way in which these progress over time, are independent of employees’ gender or other factors that are not related to the position in question or the skills required. We compare positions internally every six months, keep up to date with market developments and analyses, and track external benchmarks in order to guarantee fair, appropriate compensation.

United Internet’s foreign staff are based among other places in Cebu in the Philippines (2020: 395; 2019: 360; 2018: 351); this is the technical support center for IONOS in Great Britain and the USA. Civil society organizations and NGOs have noted that companies in the Philippines frequently do not pay the minimum wage. United Internet reviews salaries in Cebu regularly to ensure that its staff are paid more than the minimum wage.

See the Amnesty Report (German only)

Changes to the law governing employee compensation, such as minimum wage legislation, are fully implemented in all companies’ compensation practice in all countries. We ensure that the compensation we pay our employees complies at all times with all local statutory requirements.