This is the fifth article in a series about the similarities and differences between men and women.
Q: How do men and women differ regarding work?
A: Although they have some different priorities, men and women have the same ideas about what they consider important. Research has shown, however, the so-called values gap between men and women does not account for men continuing to have greater career advancement.
A health education company, Lluminari Inc., conducted a study on gender-based work preferences. The study focused on businesses that had more than 1,000 employees. Researchers determined the results also could apply to smaller companies. The biggest result from the study was the finding that men and women tend to value similar things at work, but they have differing emphases.
Research has revealed men value pay, benefits, status, power and authority more than women in relation to work values. Women value respect, relationships, fairness, communication, equity, collaborating and work-family balance. Regarding men and women understanding one another’s work values, men seem oblivious to what women value at work. Women tend to overestimate the extent to which men value status, money and power.
In a study by the Opinion Research Corp., the data revealed some gender differences about opinions regarding workplace flexibility. In the survey, 59 percent of working women rate extra vacation days as one of their three top benefits, whereas 47 percent of men gave extra days off such a high priority. The survey also revealed 60 percent of men were in favor of an alternative to leave early, for example, on Fridays in the summers.
Experts about work environments label them using gender terms. Environments that are nurturing, group-oriented, emotional and harmonious are called feminine. Workplaces that are analytical, methodical, hierarchical and high-conflict are labeled masculine. In a study by Catalyst and the Families and Work Institute, the research showed males and females in positions of leadership tended to value similar things — interesting work in a supportive work environment. The Catalyst study also documented that work met men’s needs more than women’s needs. The researcher believed the needs discrepancy might account for the reason more women leave positions whereas men stay and advance.
The above information is from Laura Lloyd, an author who writes about business and finance. Her articles have been published in many reputable papers nationwide.
On the Fiscal Times website, an article covers more about how males and females differ at work. For several decades, men have been told to think like women and women are advised to act like men. However, such advice tends to reinforce stereotypes such as empathy for women and aggressiveness for men. Even though stereotypes are exaggerations, research reveals gender traits do exist and do influence the workplace.
Even though women are now in the workplace, men and women are just as different in the workplace as they are in their respective personal lives. Business executives are just starting to comprehend these differences can be beneficial.
Even though experts believe a gender balance at work is best, studies actually show men excel in some areas and women in others. Business culture more often equates success with male attributes. According to statistics from the Labor Department from 2010, women earn 81 percent of what males earn. Research does not substantiate that hiring more men will change the bottom line, but having both genders at work provides the strengths of both.
Women are team players. Various studies showed women are more supportive and more rewarding as leaders, whereas men are considered better at managing and delegating. In a 2005 research study by Caliper, women had more compassion and team-building skills than men. Women also scored higher than men in assertiveness and persuasiveness. Women also were able to interpret situations accurately and consider information from all sides. Research also validates women’s willingness to consider all sides of an issue enhances women’s persuasiveness.
Women also like challenges at work, and 70 percent of them ask for new challenges, compared with less than half of the men. Women also work longer hours than men, as 54 percent of women work nine to 11 hours compared with 41 percent of men. Women more often than men express a willingness to do work on vacation. Women have been found in research studies less likely to use sick days to play hooky, to use them for mental health days, to use them to nurse hangovers or to use them to interview for another job.
Men were found to be early adopters to technology and to rely on technology more than women. Men excel at negotiation. They ask for what they want. A study in 2003 of students graduating from Carnegie Melon with master’s degrees found men attained salaries 7.6 percent higher than women because they negotiated higher salaries, whereas only 7 percent of females negotiated. Other Accenture research found 45 percent of women would be willing to ask for a raise, compared with 61 percent of men.
Men are better at going ahead and winging it even when minimally prepared. Women tend to feel they are unprepared. Men get more promotions than women by making friends in high places. In a 2008 study by Catalyst, 72 percent of men received promotions by 2010 compared with 65 percent of women. Men are more apt to be mentored by senior executives and women by junior executives. Both men and women form social networks with their respective genders. Since upper management is predominately male, men are in a better position to receive promotions.
• Next week’s article will discuss gender differences in emotional health.
Judy Caprez is professor emeritus at Fort Hays State University.