Men Working In Female-Dominated Industries Care More About Friendships And Working Hours Than Salary, Promotions: Study

Female Dominated Industry
A teacher conducts a German lesson for children during a welcome class for immigrants from Syria, Poland and Romania at the Katharina-Heinroth primary school in Berlin, Germany, September 11, 2015. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Men are not only getting away with a higher salary in job fields dominated by women, but they also have lower stress levels. A recent study presented at the British Psychological Society's Division of Occupational Psychology annual conference in Nottingham, UK, suggests men who work in female-dominated industries care more about social aspects of their career, like friendships and flexible working hours, than they do financial rewards.

"It is often assumed that men value careers with regular opportunities for promotion; however our study demonstrates that this isn't always the case," Dr. Kazia Solowiej, from the University of Worcester, said in a statement. "Men who work in typically female-dominated occupations value success in ways that went beyond salary and promotion." Solowiej and her colleagues interviewed a total of 34 men, which included 15 primary school teachers and 19 university administrators.

Questions centered on men's career history, as well as their experience with success and support they received from the organization they worked for. Responses revealed the definition of success among men in female-dominated industries differed from men in male-dominated industries.

Instead of focusing on pay and promotion, as men in male-dominated industries did, men in female-dominated industries were more fixated on building friendships with colleagues, plus flexible working hours that would enable them to spend more time to spend with their family or on social commitments. However, these men did value recognition of success from their colleagues and often felt pressured to apply for promotion opportunities.

"Organizations need to understand that some of their male employees may not be motivated purely by promotional opportunities," Solowiej added. "Therefore it is important that gender stereotypical assumptions about success are challenged so we can understand what is important to individuals within different occupational contexts."

While men working in female-dominated industries have a seemingly stress-free environment, women working in male-dominated industries not only face a variety of obstacles, but they also have higher levels of stress. Some of the challenges faced by women in sex-segregated fields include performance pressures, sexual harassment, a hard time moving up in their company, coworkers doubting their competence, and low levels of support from coworkers. These stressors often lead dysregulation in their stress response, upping their risk for chronic diseases and mortality.

Source: Steele C, Francis-Smythe J, Ross C, Solowiej K. British Psychological Society's Division of Occupational Psychology Annual Conference. 2016.

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