A quota system gives priority to members of underrepresented diversity groups within the company who are equally qualified, to increase their share in important roles in the long term. In case of strong imbalances, the targeted quota is gradually increased over a longer period until a balanced ratio is achieved. By far the most common goal of quotas today is to increase the proportion of women, as this is still far below half in many technical professions and management positions in general. Depending on the industry and labor market situation, it may make sense to (also) introduce quotas for other underrepresented diversity groups and to expand them beyond executive positions.
For large, listed companies based in Switzerland, a statutory benchmark of 30 percent women on the board of directors and 20 percent on the executive board has applied since the beginning of 2021. A corresponding reporting obligation comes into force after five years for the board of directors and after ten years for executive management.
Even for SMEs and large organizations not affected by this statutory regulation, quota regulations represent one of the most effective means of increasing the proportion of women or other diversity groups in management positions and on important decision-making bodies. On the one hand, quota regulations can reduce the influence of unconscious stereotypes in the selection process. On the other, they encourage members of underrepresented diversity groups to apply for positions of responsibility by providing incentives for proactive career advancement.