Research shows women don’t want management jobs

Research shows women don’t want management jobs

Intellect’s Women in IT Forum and womenintechnology.co.uk recently released the results of their survey about women working in the technology profession.

The survey shows that although 8% of women have reached director-level roles, up 3% on 2007, many women are not interested in pursuing pure management roles and want to remain doing hands on, technical jobs. In the IT project management field this equates to women wanting to stick with being project managers and not aspiring to lead a PMO or move into portfolio management.

Groups like the APM’s Women in Project Management SIG exist to support and promote women in project management. Informally, A Girl’s Guide to Project Management does the same. Are we wrong in trying to encourage more women into senior roles? Maybe the reason why we don’t get directorships is because we don’t want them.

I don’t believe this is true. I am sure there are many men happy doing technical, hands on, non-managerial roles as well. Why shouldn’t that type of work appeal to women too? Not everyone wants the stress and people-management responsibilities that come with being a senior manager.

Mixed support for developing women’s careers

Some women, the ones who do want a management career, need to know that the workplace supports their advancement.
However, the statistics don’t completely support that. Over 60% of respondents in the Intellect/WiT survey have more than 10 years of experience but only 26% have reached senior management level. Many of the others reported feeling that they are being passed over for promotion in favour of male colleagues. Over a third of respondents said they had left their last position due to a lack of internal promotion.
Fortunately, thing looks a bit better when it comes to the work/life balance options on offer. Eighty percent of companies offer remote working options, with 71% of survey respondents taking up this option. This seems a lot to me, but as the survey focused on IT professionals it could be that technology companies and IT departments are more forward-thinking when it comes to the kit and the policies to work from home.
Being a woman is not (very) detrimental to your career

Nearly two thirds of respondents agree that being a woman has not been detrimental to their career in technology. Flip that statistic round, and it means that two in five women believe that being a woman has hampered them in some way.

The survey doesn’t expound on exactly how, but here are some of the findings from that section:
•47% believe that to get ahead in a tech career, you have to act like a man (whatever that means)
•75% believe that technology employers have a long hours culture
•84% believe that more should be done to encourage women back to work after maternity leave.

The important thing is that whether you want to move into management or not, all women should feel that their IT project management careers are supported by the company, and that whatever options they want are open to them. What are your experiences of project management career development? Let us know in the comments.

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Original Author : Elizabeth
Courtesy : http://www.pm4girls.elizabeth-harrin.com
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20 Responses to “Research shows women don’t want management jobs”

  1. Brikena says:

    I dont agree with this research which just confirm some steriotypes people have on woman ability to work in some fields! the problem is even more complex than that and is very much linked with social economic backgrounds of women in several countries! I dont beleive it will be any difference in capacity or capability between man and woman if we were treaty in the same way since our birthday! I do love IT and especially management!

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  2. Richard says:

    I would like to widen this discussion…. over my career it has often been said that I was technically good ……. and therefore by definition managerially poor!! ??

    This is a ‘typing’, that from the above, and my experience, can often be applied to women as many apply greater care in their work. But where does all this stem from?

    My belief is it comes from the ‘command and control’ structured businesses that predominate in the business world, and that generally benefit the ‘command type’ climbers. Business where information is more freely available, and the structures flatter, provide a more people friendly environment where relationships matter more (for the ultimate read up on tomato processing in the Dec 2011 Harvard Business Review, and Claude: I believe Agile is a move in this direction.).

    Such flatter, more people respective organisations would benefit almost all, including women, in enabling a better opportunity to develop satisfying careers …. with sucess being defined by the individual. This kind of environment requires managers that seek to serve and support their productive team members, not control them …. as Peter Hunter puts it, one can be very surprised by individual performance when they are released to do their job …. not serve commands.

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  3. Claude says:

    I sadly have to agree with Kieran, Dr. Levin. Discrimination against women still exists in 2012. Independant research confirms that and we see it everyday. This does not put in question the formidable success you had and still have as a top executive. It shows how gifted and determined you are. You are an example for your fellow women. Individual success stories are contextual. They sure are linked to strong will, intelligence and skills; but in some contexts, this is just not enough when discrimination is a decision rule. And this does not only apply to women, but also to gays, Blacks, all kind of minorities. This is 2012 and equity and fairness are still not common rules of engagement. I am sorry, but I feel that you say that if women cannot get leadership positions, this is because they do not try hard enough. I beg to differ. I do not look for excuses for women, I just cannot excuse discrimination. I will not go on after this comment. This discussion can be summed up with the following question: Is there discrimination against women or not ? My answer is yes, and it is shameful and barbarian. So no need to argue further

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  4. Dr. Ginger says:

    I’m sorry but this is really sad and yes, it is total stereotyping. This in 2011 – almost 2012 – women have held leadership positions in the past and can do so at any time if they wish to do it.

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  5. Kieran says:

    I cannot resist a quick comment.(I’m saying ‘quick’ as I’m very passionate about the subject matter and could gripe for ages about it…) Those of you who attended the recent Project-Zone conference in Stockholm will probably recollect that this is one of my “Elephants in the Room”. Catalyst research reveals correctly that the underlying issue behind the insane gender imbalance in senior leadership positions is “stereotyping” . We can argue about the whys and wherefores, and we can encourage women to “go for it”, but until we get out of denial, our progress will be constrained by the complex set of limiting beliefs that are fuelled by stereotyping.

    Ultimately, the issue is at the top. I want to offer this single strategic premise by way of a challenge to the male dominated boards of directors who crow in their very muscular way about their commitment to business results – they are not! If they were truly committed to building winning strategies, they would recognize their “fiduciary responsibility” to get more women on the bus. By ignoring the compelling empirical evidence that women are just as good at leadership as men (and in many cases, slighty more effective overall) the CEO is making a deliberate business decision to damage his company’s competitiveness. For me, that’s gross negligence!

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  6. niyas says:

    fantastic…..

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  7. Dr. Ginger says:

    Juanita, I understand fully your concerns but you probably are traveling some as you note now. You may not travel any more at the next level and you may be able to manage your travel better at a higher level as you are more in control of your own destiny rather than having a manager tell you it is time to travel to X at X date. I encourage you to try for higher positions!

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  8. Juanita says:

    I wonder if, instead of not wanting to be in a management position (giving up technical position), it’s a conscious choice to keep a job that allows more flexibility in your work schedule. Women tend to be the primary caregivers even if they hold a full-time job, and maybe the move into management would cause them to have more difficulty balancing work obligations with raising a family. I don’t have any research to support this; it’s just a conjecture of mine. I personally hesitate to move into higher management positions precisely because I don’t want to be away from my children (and spouse) more than I am now.

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  9. Claude says:

    I know you can and do get those jobs, Dr Levin. I know also that it is difficult and you have all my admiration :)

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  10. Claude says:

    Maybe one should not reach conclusions on what people say, which might not be what they really want. I believe like Dr. Lewin that there is no glass ceiling. I also believe that it is still harder for women to get to those top management jobs. If it was not, you would not find consistently in all countries wage inequalities between men and women. I am a male, and by raising or nature we are territorial and quite competitive, So these behaviours are reflected in the male dominated organisations. Those are not nice, nurturing behaviours and maybe some women do not find it worth to joint this club. I do believe that the world, as displayed by Spiral Dynamics is moving towards more collaborative behaviours and that the time has come to let women lead us out of this competitive mess. Sorry, fellow men, I’d rather take my chance with those women, who do not want the job, to lead us than with those men who would do anything to keep those same jobs.

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  11. Dr. Ginger says:

    I just read this post, and to me it is truly disappointing having worked in the IT and technology arenas successfully for over 40 years. The glass ceiling in my opinion is a myth and excuse. If one wants to succeed, one can do it. It was not and has not been a concern for me. It will not be a future concern.

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  12. Glynis says:

    Thanks for sharing. Interesting reading with some valid points.

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  13. Lisa E. says:

    I love Management and Leadership- I am a leader- However I can not answer for all women

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  14. Carlos says:

    Women,
    You have gradually expanded your spaces: global leaders, business managers and family coordination. Thus, you women will get the best parts of the cake, while we men have to be satisfied with the sink and all dirty dishes.

    …it’s part of the game…

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  15. Elena says:

    1. Misleading title. the research was done for women in the technology professions. so women of other professions may feel completely different.
    2. Also, it could be that not that women Don’t Want management jobs but something within the current environment and the field Stops them wanting it.

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  16. Oladoyin says:

    This may be because Management roles demands a lot of soft skills,which can take a long time to attain.

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    • Glynis W says:

      I totally agree that soft skills are the key to attaining the next level. I don’t think women have as much access to mentors that will help them develop these skills as well as provide political support for their promotion.

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      • Juanita says:

        It was primarily by having a mentor that I was able to get into project management in the first place, so I feel strongly that those of us who are in management positions must actively mentor and encourage other women (and men) to step into that role if it interests them and if they have(or can develop) the soft skills necessary for leadership. We must “pay it forward” to keep our profession alive and thriving.

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  17. Vicki says:

    I think the problem with a lot of polls is the way questions are asked.

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  18. Wayne says:

    …and yet an article in the June 2011 _Significance_ journal (“Sheconomics: Why more women on boards boosts company performance,” pp80-81) describes research that shows business performance is positively correlated with the number of women on boards.

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