Would you prefer a male boss or a female boss?

Answer for me personally? Female. I’ve had both, and I think females are easier to deal with. There’s a tendency towards wanting to be Type-A / alpha among a lot of guys, especially when they become managers. That might explain the dreaded ’82 percent’ stat.

Here’s some new research from Pew about women in the workplace, and specifically women as bosses. Note this part:

Gallup has been tracking gender preferences in the workplace since 1953, when fully two-thirds of American adults (66%) said they would prefer a male boss if they had a choice in a new job. Another 25% volunteered that it made no difference, and only 5% said they would prefer a female boss. As of November 2013, the gap has narrowed but remains. A plurality (41%) say it makes no difference, but the rest prefer a male boss over a female boss by 35%-23%.

There are some strides there for females as bosses; in 1953 only 5% said they’d prefer a female boss. That was up to 23% in 2013, with the gap in “makes no difference” changing by roughly the same percent — 25 up to 41.

There’s another study, from Pew itself and done in 2013, where basically this “no preference” thing pops out again — but the main takeaway is that people prefer to work with men, as opposed to women. In fairness on that study, 78% of men and 76% of women say “it doesn’t matter” what the gender of their co-workers are — it’s just that in that 22-24 percent where people do care, the ratio is 2-to-1 preferring men as co-workers.

I could see arguments on both sides, obviously. Even though the narrative is skewed around who’s really working at home more, there is this whole attitude that a woman will eventually “have other commitments” (i.e. children) and “can’t be a grinder.” That’s stupid. It goes back to The Busy Trap, which everyone should be actively avoiding anyway.

There’s also this whole argument:

That rolls up with the whole “If a guy sleeps with a lot of people, he’s a player; if a woman does, she’s a slut” argument. The dual notions against women are ludicrous. If a woman is a good, strict manager — she’s a “ballbuster.” If a man is, he’s a “team player” or “a rising star.” It’s all dumb, honestly. People need to consider the context of the given situation.

And now get this, from the original Pew post:

Although men across all age groups are more likely to aspire to be a boss or top manager, the gap between men and women is smallest among Millennials — those ages 18 to 32 in 2013. Among this generation, 70% of men who are not already a boss say they would like to be, compared with 61% of women.

You can extrapolate that in a lot of different ways, but that could — I stress ‘could’ — mean that a lot of millennial women want to eventually be mothers. If so, get ready for a real estate shift, a neighborhood shift, and a population boom that perhaps we cannot handle.

What say you: what do you prefer?


Ted Bauer

One Comment

  1. “What say you: what do you prefer?”

    Gender isn’t a determinant for one’s work ethic or values. The idea that you want a woman or a man as a ‘boss’ for one reason or another is based some non-sequitur (e.g. women or men ‘easy going’ even though their behavior has nothing to do with their gender)

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