The Psychology Of Who We Want To Work For

Photographed by Alexandra R. Gavillet.
In today's disappointing news, turns out the workers of America still aren't too interested in having female bosses. A new Gallup poll, released yesterday, sampled just over 1,000 participants nationwide and showed that while 33% of responders preferred a male boss, only 20% preferred having a female boss. But, the biggest chunk of responders (46%) said they didn't have a preference for either. The results also showed that this has been the pattern since the early 2000s, suggesting that workplace attitudes are a little bit stuck.
However, people who were more likely to prefer a female boss were (a) women, (b) currently working for a female boss, and (c) younger. So, we may be able to pull ourselves out of this male-preference rut as time goes on — and as more women are able to climb their respective career ladders.
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Along those lines, a previous study from this July showed that the way we present our gender really does matter — even before we get the job. When fake applicants acknowledged their own gender during a job interview, study participants rated them as less qualified. But, female participants preferred applicants who mentioned traditionally feminine traits (such as being sensitive to the concerns of others) while male participants preferred those who said they were "independent" or "assertive." And, an even earlier study showed that, yes, bosses hire people they simply like the best.
So, more than anything else, yesterday's poll really suggests that we just want to hire and work for people who are like us. Well, maybe like the best version of us. Or, maybe we just want to hire people we'd want to grab a beer with after work. And, you know, enjoy being around for eight-plus hours every day. Imagine that!
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