What women want: Not each other, it seems

by Victoria Bruce10 Mar 2016
Women who want to succeed in leadership roles may need to convince their female co-workers of their ability to manage workplace relationships.
That’s the findings from a new survey by finance recruitment specialist Marks Sattin, which found that the success of women in leadership roles may actually be hindered by negative perceptions of their female co-workers.
“Women are far less likely to progress to management positions and when they do, the perception of their ability to lead is heavily scrutinised by both men and women,” says Suzanne Gerrard, General Manager, Marks Sattin and Experis.
21 percent of females interviewed in the survey said that they preferred male managers because men were “less emotional”, “less temperamental” and “more rational” than female bosses.
Women are also more competitive with other women, the study found.
However, 5 percent of respondents said female bosses were more compassionate, had a better approach to teamwork and understood family needs better.
In the shadow of International Women’s Day, the issue of gender inequality continues to be a hot topic as women battle for an equal seat at the corporate table with their male counterparts.
In Marks Sattin’s latest survey of 1,300 people, 75 per cent of respondents said that less than half of their organisation’s leadership team were female and only 6 percent were female senior executives themselves.
The survey confirms the huge disparity between male and females in leadership roles with the Australian financial services sector.
“Leaders must take accountability and look towards internal ‘change programs’ rather than relying on ‘quotas’," Gerrard said. "Employers must raise awareness of unconscious bias in the hiring process and promote flexible workplace options to attract top female talent.”

Organisations should also review existing policies and culture to see if there are any explicit or understated barriers to women in the workforce. Ensure a female presence on the interview panel is a good way to address potential barriers during hiring procedures, and HR professionals can help raise awareness of unconscious bias and how it can affect the hiring process.

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