Given Choice, Workers Opt for Male Bosses
When it comes to bosses, people still like working for the man-or at least, a man.
A new Gallup survey of 2,059 adults found that both men and women would prefer a male boss. Though 41% of respondents said they had no preference, 35% said that, if given the choice, they would choose a male boss. Twenty-three percent said they'd rather have a female boss.
These preferences have stayed steady over recent years, but they've evolved sharply over the long term. Gallup first posed the question in 1953; at that time, 66% of Americans said they preferred a male boss, while 5% preferred a female boss. Today, along with more people expressing a preference for a female manager, a larger share of people say they don't have a preference.
Gallup's sample included working and nonworking Americans. Among the respondents who are employed, 54% said they work for a man, while 30% said they work for a woman.
Those working for a man prefer male bosses, but those who currently work for a female are as likely to want a female boss as a male boss. The findings suggest that more people will show a preference for a female boss once they have logged some time working for one, according to Frank Newport, who is Gallup's editor in chief.
Demographically, the data may tell a different story. Americans between 35 and 54 are least likely to prefer a male boss. Younger Americans-who areas a group more likely to support societal changes like gay marriage and marijuana legalization-are no more likely than the average American to prefer a female boss, according to the survey, a rare instance of that group not breaking from historic norms.
Interpreted more broadly, that could mean attitudes on gender and leadership may not shift simply because Millennials will make up a greater share of the workforce, according to the Gallup report.
Sylvia Ann Hewlett of the Center for Talent Innovation, which studies workplace issues, says her research indicates that people prefer working for senior men because they believe the senior men have more power than senior women do.
研究职场问题的纽约智库人才创新中心(Center for Talent Innovation)的休利特(Sylvia Ann Hewlett)说，她的研究表明，人们更喜欢为年长的男性工作，因为人们认为，年长的男性比年长的女性更有权力。
'You hitch yourself to a star and the calculation is, 'this male boss is going places,'' she says, noting that men dominate the ranks of CEOs and executives. 'Whereas this female boss is probably going to get stuck.'
Hewlett says her research with senior leaders has found that male and female executives rate themselves similarly in terms of management style, so the issue is not necessarily one of leadership.
'It's really not about style or wanting to have a best friend as a boss,' she says. Both genders prefer male 'sponsors' - someone who can champion a lower-level worker and advance their career. 'It's really about likelihood of progression.'