Frogs and snails and puppy-dogs’ tails…..
30 July 2019
Frogs and snails and puppy-dogs' tails,
And that are little boys made of.
Sugar and spice and all things nice,
And that are little girls made of.
Most of us have heard of this poem and agree that there are many differences between the two genders but do you know that there is actually a difference between how men and women view and pursue (or not) a new job opportunity?
There has been a lot of work and awareness getting equality in the workplace and it was very heartening to see a number of Healthcare Communication agencies and key players in the pharmaceutical sector well represented in the UK Best Workplaces for woman 2019, but this is a recent uplift and whilst many achievements have been seen there is still some way to go. https://www.greatplacetowork.co.uk/awards/uks-best-workplaces-for-women/uks-best-workplaces-for-women-2019/
There have been a number of studies into how men and women differ in how they see and approach their careers.
In regards to career progression and applying for new roles, a finding from a Hewlett Packard internal report stated ‘Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them’.
Working in Healthcare Communications recruitment for many years I have seen first-hand the difference between how men and women view job descriptions; interviews; salaries and career progression.
Many studies confirm that women have an increased tendency to ‘follow the rules’ and this reflects in every aspect of their lives. In their careers, that rule-following habit has real costs, including when it comes to adhering to the guidelines about “who should apply”. Many women believe that a requirement is essential and not having it will prevent them from getting the role and risk failure.
The way the job description is worded also has an effect. Studies have shown that men are not really influenced by the use of masculine and feminine traits in the job description, however women are commonly deterred by typically masculine terms such as ‘assertive’, ‘independent’ or ‘aggressive’. They are much more likely to respond to terms such as ‘dedicated’ or ‘responsible’.
The actions and preconceptions of the interviewers also has an impact. A McKinsey report found that men are often hired or promoted based on their potential, women for their experience and track record. If women have watched that occur in their workplaces, it makes perfect sense they’d be less likely to apply for a job for which they didn’t meet the qualifications.
So what to do to even the playing field?
If you are responsible for recruiting then:
• Ensure that the essential and desirable parts of a job description are clear, accurate and take in to consideration these gender differences
• Make the job description appealing to both sexes
• Avoid gender biased wording
• To maintain balance, try to assess candidates on a combination of hard and soft skills
• Ensure you are hiring based on skills, experience, qualifications and potential
If you are thinking of applying for a new role:
• Just because you don’t meet the full job criteria doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply
• Partner up with a search partner / recruitment agency who really knows their stuff, if they are close to their clients they can tell you what the client really wants and what isn’t so important, they can advise you on the chances of getting a role and open new opportunities to you that you may not have known about or considered
• Believe in yourself!!