All United Internet employees should be treated with respect and have equal opportunities, regardless of their nationality, ethnic origin, religion or beliefs, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation and identity, or social origin. They should also be able to find the environment and function in which they can make the most of their individual potential and talents.
We underlined this aspiration last year by signing up to the Diversity Charter, which commits us to creating a non-discriminatory working environment.
The following diversity statement has served as the mission statement for all of the Company’s diversity activities since 2019:
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.
Since 2020, our diversity measures have been planned, managed, measured, and enhanced by an interdisciplinary Group-wide project team. This allowed us to specifically increase the broad impact of the potential that diversity offers the Company in the last fiscal year.
We discuss the importance of diversity during the onboarding events for new recruits and managers, and draw attention to the internal information platform on all aspects of diversity that was set up in 2020. On it, employees and managers can find statements by our Management Board members on the topic, practical tips for ensuring a non-discriminatory daily working environment, and numerous portraits of colleagues. In addition, we have included enterprise-wide guidelines for ensuring nondiscriminatory, gender-sensitive visual imagery and language, plus the online training course on nondiscriminatory human resources decisions developed by the “Initiative Chefsache” network.
We refuse to tolerate any form of discrimination, harassment, or bullying in the workplace. We provide staff with 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.
2021 also saw us take part for the first time in the “German Diversity Day” organized by Charta der Vielfalt e.V., the association behind Germany’s Diversity Charter, and held a three-day virtual in-house conference in May, our “Diversity Days,” which offered more than 35 sessions on the topic. The exciting and varied program featured keynotes by Management Board members, interactive workshops, reports by staff on their own experiences, panel discussions, and a whole lot more.
Our Diversity Days allowed us to transport new ideas into the organization and made colleagues aware of the potential that diversity offers us as an enterprise – both in terms of our workforce and in terms of our customers. 99% of the nearly 1,000 staff who took part in the Diversity Days would recommend them to others, and 87% felt that the topics presented and discussed were highly relevant to their work and our organizational development – really positive feedback. As a result, we are planning to continue the Diversity Days in 2022.
Following the Diversity Days, an internal podcast series was launched featuring interviews on diversity issues with a number of well-known people in the Company. This was developed independently by female employees as part of our “Women explore” program.
In addition, we held regular open meet-ups in German and English throughout the year at which both external and internal speakers presented topics such as bias, and non-discriminatory and gender-sensitive language. An average of roughly 80 people attended the individual sessions.
Last but not least, two colleagues from our Diversity Project Team had the chance to join a group visiting the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum in Poland from September 5–8. The motto for the visit, which took place as part of our partnership with Borussia Dortmund, was “Unite against Racism.” Back in the Company, the two reported openly on their impressions with the aim of triggering additional discussions and initiatives.
Our diversity activities focus on promoting gender equality.
In 2021, we achieved our goal of increasing the proportion of women in management in the top two management levels of the companies below United Internet AG to 18%. We aim to continue systematically increasing the proportion of women in the Company now we have reached the 18% target. In line with this, we will agree a new target in fiscal year 2022.
The following table provides a breakdown of our staff by gender and employment type. In addition, 11.08% of our core employees worked part-time in 2021 (2020:10.69%, 2019: 10.73%).
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 the fiscal year concerned
Employees by employment type, by gender(1)
Employees by employment contract, by 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
Women accounted for 34.29% of new hires in the reporting period (2020: 33.55%; 2019: 32.88%) and 29.51% of newly recruited managers (2020: 31.15%; 2019: 19.15%). As of December 31, 2021, there were 45 (2020: 40; 2019: 37) women in the top two levels of management below United Internet AG, corresponding to a quota of 18.22% (2020: 17%; 2019: 16%). This allowed us to close the gap to the 18% figure (2020: 8 women, 2019: 6 women).
We start actively promoting gender equality very early, e.g., by taking part in the national Girls’Day and Boys’ Day, or offering school students programming courses that are taught by our vocational trainees. We also implemented dedicated gender equality promotion measures as part of our university and professional marketing activities in the past year, such as mentoring for female students at the University of Offenburg and our attendance at two careers fairs for women. In addition, our social media channels focused repeatedly on diversity issues throughout the year.
Our “Women explore” talent and networking offering for women won the HR Excellence Award in 2020 in the “Diversity and Female Empowerment” category. A total of 49 women from all areas of the Company took part in a second offering in 2021. “Women explore” aims to increase high-potential women’s visibility and profile 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 attend in-person and virtual network meetings, collaborate in self-organized learning groups, and share information and opinions with the program owners 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, the participants implemented concrete initiatives based on their own ideas for ways to promote gender equality, such as forms for enabling explicit cultural dialog between the sexes or discussions about topics such as part-time working and cross-cultural exchange.
“Women explore” has also established a pool of 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.
“Ever since I was little I knew the world I wanted to end up in. That's why my goal is to get more women interested in IT and to use myself as an example to motivate them to show off their expertise and to talk openly and confidently about their successes.”
Xenia Sausele, Channel Development Manager, IONOS SE. She is one of the three finalists for the “IT Women of the Year 2021” awards in the “Digital Transformation” category. The prize honors women who have successfully implemented new technological approaches and solutions in their companies.
In addition, our role models and other female colleagues give presentations and lectures about careers at United Internet at external events. For example, this year we sponsored, and provided a speaker for, a conference that looked at agile methods, agile working, and agile management from a female perspective and created a platform for attendees to share their experience.
We provide our female managers and experts with a quarterly internal “Women in Management Network,” which addresses different topics that are relevant for this target group. Our “Ladies Lunch” and “Female Meet-up” formats offer other, informal ways of networking.
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.
Our external, independent family service 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, and working part-time. This allows participants to swap experiences and best-practice examples. It is particularly important to us in this area to highlight fathers who work part-time as role models and to encourage a discussion about equal care.
United Internet’s world knows no borders: We are not just Europe’s leading internet specialist with branches in many European states, but are also increasingly present around the world in countries such as the USA and the Philippines. 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 cultural awareness. We support this as a company by providing a very wide range of support services such as a relocation service or specific onboarding offerings for international staff.
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.
In addition, we have trained people with refugee backgrounds as apprentices for several years now. 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.
Outside Germany, United Internet employs staff in Spain, the USA, the Philippines, Romania, and the United Kingdom. Amoing other places. The rise of virtual collaboration is offering new opportunities and facilitating closer international cooperation. In 2021, 392 employees worked at our location in Cebu on the Philippines (2020: 395; 2019: 360). This provides technical support for IONOS in the United Kingdom and the USA. Since the Philippines are highly vulnerable to extreme weather events, the work of the local health and safety officer focuses on contingency planning and establishing strategies and procedures for ensuring the safety of the entire workforce. In addition, IONOS offered employees in Cebu help and advice on key social and economic topics such as mental health, financial wellbeing, and drug awareness for the first time in 2021. Interested staff were able to take up this voluntary offering in the form of a general presentation. A special mental health awareness training course was also held for managers. All in all, 152 people took part in the courses. This helped to promote employee health and wellbeing.
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.
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.
The PROUT AT WORK foundation raises awareness of LGBTIQ+ in the world of work with its PROUT PERFORMER awards. We are proud to announce here that our colleague Benjamin Flick was included in this year’s prestigious list of “PROUTExecutives,” i.e., queer managers. Among other things, Benjamin was involved in launching our LGBTIQ+ initiative, “queer.united.” Another of our employees, Michelle Thiele, is on the list of “PROUTVoices.” This honors queer people in business below the management level who actively drive forward the issue and give a voice to the LGBTIQ+ community.
“I had no problems coming out at work at United Internet. I am open about being gay and so far have never experienced any sort of discrimination. I want to act as a role model for other colleagues and encourage them to take the plunge and come out at work. Founding our queer employee network as part of our diversity program has enabled us to create a platform for sharing information and creating transparency about LGBTIQ+ issues. I am delighted to be part of this initiative.”
Benjamin Flick, Head of IONOS BI, IONOS SE.
We are proud that we have been able to lay the foundations for a platform and network for open communication among employees about LGBTIQ+ community issues, thanks among other things to the “queer.united” initiative that was founded by staff members. Issues here include overcoming any contact anxieties and creating an open and nondiscriminatory working environment. In addition, the initiative offers assistance for LGBTIQ+ specific issues such as coming out at work. The network comprises members of the LGBTIQ+ community and other colleagues who provide support for the topics involved.
In addition, since 2021 employees have been able to use optional gender pronouns in their intranet profiles to indicate how they would like to be referred to, and addressed, by other staff.
„United in Diversity“
As a company, we also want to help spread the topic of diversity in public. As the main sponsor and jersey sponsor for German Bundesliga football club Borussia Dortmund, we visibly took a stand together in favor of plurality and diversity, and against discrimination, in the game against Bayern Munich on March 6, 2021. The 1&1 logo was redesigned for the occasion, so that the players ran out onto the pitch wearing a shirts with a rainbow version.
Young and Old Together
In 2021, the “Young and old together” employee-driven initiative was launched to specifically encourage communication between the generations. A regular lunchtime get-together and a working group are used to share experiences and to collect age-group specific requirements and pass them on to HR.
Employees by age(1) in %
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, 2021, was 39.87 (2020: 39.43; 2019: 38.09). The average age of newly recruited core staff in the reporting period was 32.96 (2020: 33.02; 2019: 32.98(1)).
(1) The 2019 figure was adjusted due to the inclusion of Strato, home.pl, United Domains, and World4You.