Whilst doing some research recently I came across an interesting article about women and how they fail to compete with men in the career development stakes, I have taken the liberty of quoting part of it below”-
Here’s a headline guaranteed to get people’s attention–or ire: Four Ways Women Stunt Their Careers Unintentionally. The post appears on the Harvard Business Review web site, and it’s written by consultants Jill Flynn, Kathryn Heath, and Mary Davis Holt, of Flynn Heath Holt Leadership.
The consultants have four nuggets of advice for career women, all of which derive from their belief that women are less confident in their professional abilities than men are.
Low confidence? First, the bit about being less confident. The writers cite a survey of British managers from the Institute of Leadership and Management. It was released in 2011 and found:
Men are more confident than women. About 70% of men
have high or very high levels of self-confidence, compared to
about half the women surveyed.
Women are more prone to self-doubt. About half the
women said they had feelings of self-doubt about their
performance and career, but only 31% of men admitted to this.
Women are more cautious in applying for jobs. Some 20%
of men said they would apply to a job even if they didn’t
entirely meet the qualifications in the job description,
compared to 14% of women.
The consultants then draw from their own experience in training and coaching, as well as the more than 360 degree reviews they’ve read throughout the years.
After reading this I began to reflect on my own experiences as a career coach and as someone who was involved in recruitment for a number of years.
My comments are simply anecdotal evidence of what I saw and experienced when working with women.
- Women are more receptive to interview coaching and seem to demonstrate greater self awareness than men
- They have better listening skills than men and are more willing to look critically at themselves.
- There is a tendency for women to believe that unless they feel they can do 85% of the job they will not apply (whereas men will “go for it” even if they feel they can only do 50%)
- Assessment centre group exercises tend do be dominated by the male candidates by demonstrating those male characteristics associated with leadership and management i.e. dynamic, thrusting, aggressive, powerful.
- In such exercises women tend to be more passive, but this can hide the fact they are being quietly analytical, applying problem solving techniques AND listening to the discussion before making an intervention.
- Women in a group tend to co-operate (even when in competition with each other for a job) whereas men will go into “competition mode” to demonstrate who is “top dog”
- Some women adopt male characteristics in selection interviews primarily because their role models are often men in senior positions and they perceive that that model is what the panel are looking for.
- Some self confident and assertive women are branded as “stroppy” or “aggressive” by some interviewers, usually male!
When the Polytechnics were created back in the 1960s they were created under the banner “equal but different”……….I would suggest that this “banner” could easily be applied to the differences between the genders.
As I pointed out earlier I have no empirical evidence to back up my comments but simply offer the above observations as food for thought.