Men are quitting ‘pink collar jobs’ due to being stereotyped: Study

An Australian study has shown men in pink collar professions can be vulnerable to negative gender stereotypes

Men are quitting ‘pink collar jobs’ due to being stereotyped: Study

Men working in ‘pink-collar professions’ (such as nursing, teaching and child-care) can be vulnerable to negative gender stereotypes, according to a new study by University of Queensland School of Psychology researcher Dr Courtney von Hippel.

She told HRD that nurses, primary school teachers and child protection workers are meant to be gentle and nurturing, traits that are stereotypic of women but not men.

“Stereotypes about men suggest they are unlikely to have the necessary traits to succeed in ‘pink-collar’ jobs, in which such stereotypically female traits are thought to be critical for success,” said Dr von Hippel.

“Not only are men assumed to lack these feminine traits, but they are stereotyped as aggressive, dominant and competitive – traits that are problematic in many ‘pink-collar’ jobs.”

The study was a collaboration with UQ’s Kathleen Kjelsaas and Steven Bennetts, and Dr Elise Kalokerinos of the University of Leuven, is published in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

Dr von Hippel looked at the stereotype threat among men in two traditionally female jobs: primary school teaching and child protection work.

“Male primary school teachers experienced more stereotype threat than women, and those feelings were related to negative job attitudes and commitment for men but not women,” said Dr von Hippel.

“Male child protection workers who compared themselves with successful female child protection workers experienced stereotype threat that was associated with intentions to resign.

“Men were also expected to perform stereotypic masculine work tasks more than their female counterparts.

“So, despite their advantaged status, men in ‘pink-collar’ jobs are susceptible to workplace stereotype threat that results in dissatisfaction and disengagement in their jobs and an increased consideration of quitting their profession.”


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