Working for Women vs. Working for Men

working for women and men

Working for women or working for men? Seriously? Do people in this day and age really have a preference?

Apparently so. In the October 2011 issue of OfficePro magazine (hat tip to Lesa, our superstar admin at Pinnacle, for sharing with me!) there’s a short blurb about peoples’ preferences in working for a woman or man. The 2011 statistics are compared side-by-side with those of a similar 1953 survey. The results:

  • 1953-male 66, female 5%, none 29%
  • 2011-male 32, female 22%, none 46%

Interesting change over time. I’m intrigued that nearly half of the respondents really don’t care! Is it wrong to say you do have a preference?

I’ve worked for three female managers in my past three jobs. All were very, very different. The first one took a chance on me as a college student and was former military, but we got along very well (my first “real” job). The second one had a lot of industry experience, but I never really got much in the way of coaching or challenges, so I didn’t enjoy it very much. The third one was the youngest and taught me more in a week than the others did in several years. I’ve had male managers in some other positions, but I don’t know if I have ever had one that I really liked that much.

As a fun test, I checked Google’s keyword research tool to find out how many times people searched for “working for a woman” and “working for a man” in a one month span.

The results surprised me. 

  • 40,500 people wanted to know more about what it was like working for a man
  • 74000 people (~82% more!) wanted to find out about working with women

Let’s discuss!

This bring up two big questions I’d love to discuss. And no, this isn’t a science forum, it’s for your opinions, so bring it. :-)

  • Why do more people research working for a woman?
  • Do you have a preference?

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16 thoughts on “Working for Women vs. Working for Men

  1. Marius

    Interesting findings, but I think it would be even more interesting to compare the answers of women vs. men. Because I could imagine that you would find differences in who men and women prefer as a boss. From my experience women prefer male bosses over female ones.

  2. adowling

    I’d rather work for a man any day. Women tend to be catty and emotional with each other, or competitive, or feel challenged. I could go on really :) I find men easier to work for because being straight with them tends to be easier, it’s more down to business rather than “what does she really mean by that”. Personal opinion/experience and all.

  3. Matt

    It’s funny because I had this discussion with a group of friends not so long ago and all my woman friends said they hated working for other women whereas most of us guys didn’t really mind. I’ve never had any major problems with woman bosses, but I heard some horror stories from my female friends…

    I don’t understand though, the business world is already discriminating against women, why would they make their own life even worst? We need you ladies, come on, be nice to each other! ;)

  4. Marius

    I actually read a German study yesterday after reading this article, that showed the majority of people were in favor of a quota for women in Companies, but only 3 percent of both men and women would want a female boss. Of the women 27 percent prefer a male boss.

  5. Kristina

    I personally have no preference over working for men vs. women. I do however have a preference over open-minded educated supervisors rather than “do it the way we always have” supervisors.

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  7. MBrisciana_HR

    Hi, Ben – – –

    Thought provoking — but I think this question (preferences about working for a man vs. a woman) is “apples vs. oranges.” Here’s what I mean …

    … putting aside people who are clearly “chauvinistic” in one direction or the other (e.g., men who don’t think highly of women or women who don’t think highly of men), my supposition is that most people don’t care about their manager’s gender, but rather care about their personality/style. For example, I think most people would prefer working for a manager who is a great coach and mentor rather than someone who is a belittling micromanager — irrespective of gender.

    To be fair, then, the question should really be, “Do you prefer working for a man with such-and-such traits rather than a woman with the the same traits.”

    Just food for thought.

    Michael Brisciana

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