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Women in management positions: personality and living conditions of female managers {Trend! Study}

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In Germany, there are still too few women in management positions, usually still men are ahead. This is due to various factors - including the living conditions. Exactly that is considered too little in many explanations. And unfortunately the topic is still up to date.

Best of HR –®

Too few women as managers: differentiated views are necessary

Why do we have too few women in management positions? The glass ceiling, some say. The women are to blame themselves, say the others! A study shows that both could somehow be the case, but you have to see the whole thing differently.

The admittedly somewhat older English-language study Does Personality Explain the Gender Career Gap? On the basis of data from the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), one has to take the circumstances of life into account in common explanatory models. And unfortunately this topic is still very topical.

Leaders are just different

Leaders in most of the personality traits studied are significantly different from other non-executive employees: they are more risk-averse, more emotionally stable, more open to new experiences, more conscientious, and less tolerant.

For the study, the authors Simon Fietze, Elke Holst and Verena Tobsch evaluated data from more than 20.000 women and men, including information on the assessment of their own personality. It was examined what role different factors play in the different career opportunities of men and women employed in the private sector.

Do female bosses have to become more male?

Furthermore, differences between women and men are becoming clearer - regardless of their positioning in the labor market: women generally report higher values ​​for openness, extraversion and conscientiousness than men; the latter, in turn, are at the forefront of risk taking and emotional stability, and less tolerated than women.

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Overall, the personalities of managers and other employees differ more in women than in men. This may suggest that female leaders need to adapt more in order to rise in the male-dominated world of work.

Living conditions are more crucial than personality

However, taking into account further possibilities for explaining the different career opportunities of men and women, it becomes clear that the personality traits on average have only a comparatively low explanation of the total 8,6 per cent.

Personal working and living conditions play a much greater role in career advancement. the Career choice, fewer full-time working hours, often uninterrupted employment due to childbirth and child-rearing, for example, part-time work and personal living conditions could explain the poorer career opportunities of women to a far greater extent (68,7 percent).

Women still have to choose between work and family

In addition, women in Germany still have to choose between work and careers. At least that is what Eileen Trzcinski and Elke Holst show in their publication Gender Differences in Subjective Well-Being In and Out of Management Positions. The authors in their abstract:

This study used data from the German Socio-economic Panel to examine gender differences in the extent to which self-reported subjective well-being was associated with occupying a high-level managerial position in the labor market, compared with employment in non-leadership, non-high-level managerial positions, unemployment, and non-labor market participation. Our results indicated that a clear hierarchy exists for men in term of how status within the labor market was associated with subjective life satisfaction. Unemployed men were the least satisfied, followed by men who were not in the labor market, while men in leadership positions reported the highest level of subjective life satisfaction. For women, no statistically significant differences were observed among women in high-level managerial positions, women who worked in non-high-level positions, and women who specialized in household production, with no market work. Only women who were unemployed reported lower levels of life satisfaction, compared with women in other labor-market statuses. Our results lend evidence to the contention that men can “have it all”, but women must still choose between career and family in Germany. We argue that interventions need to address how the non-pecuniary rewards associated with high-level managerial and leadership positions can be increased for women. Such policies would also likely serve to mitigate the “pipeline” problem concerning the number of women who are available to move into high positions in the private sector.

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7 responses to "Women in management positions: Personality and living conditions of female managers {Trend! Study}"

  1. Hallo,
    I have experienced a lot in my life and professional life and currently help some executives in strategy and leadership issues. From my experience, I say (despite being a man myself), women are more gentle with the EGO and therefore better able to deal with people. Women listen better and have better teamwork skills.

    You still need BOTH. Men also have BENEFITS. The art is in balance. If you look at the current problems in politics and the economy, then men are the ones who are most involved. However, I also say, our Fr. Dr. A. Merkel is not a mission statement for me. We are currently in a critical situation and need courage, perspectives and solutions.
    So "women in power" - why not?

    1. Thank you for your great contribution, I agree with you completely!

  2. There are many reasons why there are so few women in management positions. It's nice that a study also sheds light on the aspect of personality and living conditions!

  3. Thanks for this post, the topic is really important!

  4. Very good contribution that sheds light on the topic from a new perspective.

  5. Thanks for this important contribution!

  6. Personality & living conditions are often still underrepresented in many studies when it comes to this topic.

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