Women are less ambitious - and men are to blame

Nov 23 2006 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Women are less ambitious, less motivated than men and have completely different priorities when it comes to the world of work – and it is all the fault of men, controversial new research has suggested.

A study by management consultancy Hay Group found significant gaps in motivation and ambition levels between men and women as well as fundamental differences in what drives the sexes in the workplace.

Nearly three quarters of men are more likely than women to describe to themselves as highly motivated at work.

More than half also describe themselves as ambitious, against four out of 10 women.

Men are also far more likely to be doing their dream job than women, with two thirds of men stating their job is well matched to their skills and abilities, compared with just two fifths of women.

Women, however, believed they would be much more productive if they were doing a job they loved and had better training, the study found.

Emmanuel Gobillot, Hay Group director, said: "The workplace is no longer the preserve of men, but the legacy of the male-dominated workforce may be affecting women's prospects.

"Our research suggests that the job roles we create, values we prize and training we provide still fail to motivate women to the same degree as men," she added.

"This is leaving close to half of the workforce worryingly de-motivated - which is having a damaging effect on productivity," she continued.

While challenging and interesting work topped the list of workplace motivators for both sexes, , with salary ranked just fourth, the research unearthed fundamental differences between men and women where workplace drivers are concerned, said Hay.

Work-life balance and the quality of working relationships were key determinants of job satisfaction for women.

Women are 62 per cent more likely to value relationships than men, who rated this just sixth among job motivation factors.

Men singled out power to make decisions and personal autonomy as their main drivers after challenging and interesting work.

While twice as many women as men valued "empowering others" as a motivational factor, this was reversed when it came to "directing others", which twice as many men singled out.

"The corporate mind-set may be prioritising the skills and attributes men value over those which motivate women," said Gobillot.

"This is particularly worrying as the only way to appeal to customers is to create communities they want to belong to by placing more emphasis on relationships and networks," she added.

"What we need in the workplace is not only a focus on achievement and power, but also the forging of coalitions in order to get the job done. By failing to engage women, employers are demotivating the very people they need most," she continued.

"Business leaders must ensure they create a workplace culture which engages all employees – or pay the price in productivity," she concluded.