Ladies, your fight for workplace equality is not over yet. Not by a long shot.
At least that's the takeaway from a Gallup poll that shows that, of those surveyed, both men and women show a preference for a male boss over a female boss.
Specifically, the survey found that if Americans were taking a new job and had their choice of a boss, they would prefer a male boss over a female boss by 35 percent to 23 percent.
The survey did offer hope for a more equitable sharing of the corner office. In 1953, only 5 percent of those polled said they preferred working for a woman. That number has slowly crept up to the current 23 percent of hands in the air for a woman boss. But that number has remained essentially unchanged for several years of Gallup surveys.
Perhaps more interesting is the survey's disclosure that 42 percent of respondents don’t care which gender their boss is. And isn’t that what workplace equality is really all about?
In any case, part of the reason the female boss preference has remained stuck may be because female supervisors are currently in short supply.
Said Gallup: “Fewer Americans today say they work for a female boss than a male boss, and this structural aspect of the workplace in turn likely affects their preferences.”
The numbers the survey produced showed 54 percent working for a man, while 30 percent were supervised by a woman.
“Those who currently work for a woman are as likely to prefer having a female boss as a male one. This is one of the few subgroups of the population that does not tilt in the ‘male boss’ direction. Those who currently work for a man prefer a male boss, by 35 percent to 17 percent,” Gallup said.
The study showed that half of men don’t have a gender preference, while two-thirds of women do. And that preference is overwhelmingly male, by a 40 percent to 27 percent margin.
Meantime, one’s political leanings appear to be a driver in one's boss gender preference. Republicans and Independents like to work for men, while Democrats are more likely to say they’d rather the boss be a female.
When the data is culled by age, workers between the ages of 35 and 54 are the group most likely to prefer a woman as their supervisor.
Gallup does not pretend to know why folks still prefer to have a man in charge. “Key remaining questions center on the reasons or explanations for people’s preference of a male or female boss, particularly relating to workers’ experience with male or female bosses – and what can be learned from those preferences that can be used to maximize worker engagement and foster a more productive work environment,” Gallup said.
The implications are clear, however: The male’s grip on the C-Suite isn’t loosening up despite the efforts of women to gain greater access to the reins of corporate power.