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Men Are from Mars, Women Are…From the Same Planet

by Mario Gravelle

Report generated by CERIC based upon findings from the On-line Survey on Public Perceptions about Career Development and the Workplace

 

The Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC) has released findings of a survey conducted by Environics Research Group asking Canadians about their job satisfaction, their perceptions about their workplaces and performance management, and the tools and resources they turn to when looking for a job or building a career (More detailed findings of the latest survey are presented in the On-line Survey on Public Perceptions about Career Development and the Workplace: Final Report). The following highlights how women and men feel about their workplace and career development. As will be seen, women echo many of the same opinions as men about the pay they receive for their work, their ability to meet career goals, opportunities for career advancement, and the inclusivity of their workplace. That being said, the men and women had some significant differences of opinion about the mechanisms they use or have available to use to build their career including, mentors, career specialists coaches or counsellors, and career development services.

As mentioned, this survey sought to identify how women and men feel about various aspects of their workplace. The initial question asked about their satisfaction with their current job. Women and men submitted very similar answers with 82 percent of men stating they are satisfied compared to 80 percent of women.

 

Satisfaction with Current Job

satifaction with current job

Q.3 Would you say that you are very satisfied, somewhat satisfied,
somewhat dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with your current job?
Subsample: Those who are employed full-time or part-time.

The survey delved deeper into job satisfaction by asking respondents about various components that underscore feeling gratified in the workplace.Some of these factors include how people feel about their remuneration, rewards and recognition. Despite expectations that wage inequalities would lead women to express frustration about their income, they were equally as likely as men to report they are being paid a fair amount for the work they perform. It is interesting to note that there was less than a 4 percent difference between women and men in all these answers categories.

 

Feel I am being paid a fair amount for the work I do

feel i am being paid a fair amount for the work i do

Q.5-1 Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statement –
I feel I am paid a fair amount for the work I do.
Subsample: Those who are employed full-time or part-time.

 

Feeling rewarded for your efforts is another important component of workplace validation. Women and men likewise shared the same opinion when asked how strongly they agree or disagree with the statement “I don’t feel my efforts are rewarded the way they should be”. In this case, 50 percent of women stated they agree compared to 55 percent of men.

 

 

Reward for Workplace Efforts

 

reward for workplace efforts

Q.5-9 Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements –
I don’t feel my efforts are rewarded the way they should be.
Subsample: Those who are employed full-time or part-time.

 

Similarities in responses between these two gender groups continued when they were asked about the recognition they receive for doing a good job at the workplace. While 17 percent of women agree strongly with the statement, 16 percent of men do so. A higher proportion of women (43 percent) agree somewhat with the declaration compared to men (38 percent).

 

Recognition for Workplace Efforts

recognition for workplace efforts

Q.5-9 Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements –
When I do a good job, I receive the recognition for it that I should receive
Subsample: Those who are employed full-time or part-time.

The survey also sought to assess workplace contentment by exploring if respondents feel they had a good chance at advancing their career at their current employment. Women and men answered similarly when asked if they felt that others have better opportunities for career advancement. In this case, 57 percent of women and 64 percent of men disagree that others have better opportunities for advancement.

 

Opportunities for Career Advancement

 opportunities for career advancement

Q.5-17 Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statement –
I feel others have better opportunities for advancement.
Subsample: Those who are employed full-time or part-time.

 

 

The trend of women and men answering in concert continued when they were asked a similar question about the likelihood of meeting career goals. Eight in 10 (81 percent) of women and men were similarly optimistic (combining very optimistic and somewhat optimistic) about their ability to meet their career goals.

 

Ability to Meet Career Goals

 

ability to meet career goals

Q.22 How optimistic are you of your ability to achieve your career goals?

 

 

An examination of the survey data along gender lines seemingly demonstrates that the workplace is a welcoming environment for men and women alike. For instance, a similar proportion of employed respondents from both groups (85 percent of women compared to 80 percent of men) noted that they feel their workplace is inclusive and free of discrimination. Women and men also answered quite similarly when asked how often they felt uncomfortable or out of place in their organization for a number of reasons including gender. While 10 percent of men mentioned that they feel uncomfortable or out of place all of the time or most of the time compared to 8 percent of women. Conversely, 64 percent of women answered never compared to 60 percent of men.

 

Workplace Comfort and Inclusivity

 

workplace comfort and inclusivity

 

Q.28 How often do you feel uncomfortable or out of place in your organization
because of your ethnicity, culture, race, skin colour, class, language,
accent, gender, disability, sexual orientation or religion? Is it…
Subsample: Those who are employed full-time or part-time.
The previous section has shown that women and men who responded to the survey share similar opinions about their workplace. It is important to note that differences between the two groups emerged when they responded to inquiries about various mechanism that used for career development. A question about the use of mentors revealed that women and men rely on this service roughly equally. In this case, 28 percent of women and 26 percent of men stated they had turned to a mentor for guidance about career and other important matters in life. Men and women who received some form of mentoring offered a difference of opinion about what three aspects of mentoring are most important. For instance, men found that advice was the most important aspect of mentoring while women felt that it was encouragement. Notable differences also exist in opinions about the value of feedback (women 50% and men 38%) and coaching (men 46% and women 37%).

 

Mentoring – Most Important aspects

 

mentoring  most important aspects

Q18. When you think about what a mentor does,
which 3 aspects of mentoring are most important to you?
Subsample: Those who have or had a mentor.
There are also notable differences between women and men respondents about career development. For instance, when asked about the value for workers of having access to professional career counselling programs nearly one-third of women (32 percent) believe that it is very valuable versus just over one-quarter of men (21 percent). Furthermore, a higher proportion of women (41 percent) than men (34 percent indicate that a career specialist, coach or counsellor in an educational setting had been helpful when they had sought career planning advice.

 

Helpfulness of a career specialist, coach or counselor
in an education setting for career planning

helpfulness of a career specialist

Q.14-B.10 When you sought to plan your career/select/change/get a job, overall,
how relatively helpful was – career specialist, coach or counselor in an educational setting?
Subsample: Excluding those who have no experience with either.
A difference of opinion also emerged between the two groups about their likelihood of turning to a career development service. A higher proportion of women (59 percent) than men (51 percent) answered that they were certain that they would use/need a program to support their career development needs.

 

Interest in using/needing a career development service

interest in usingneeding a career development service

Q.16 Today, if you could choose a program that included one-on-one counselling/coaching
from a career planning & development professional,
how certain are you that you would use/need such a service?

 

As the research reveals, women report having many of the same perceptions as men of the workplace and career development on several key fronts. When it comes to remuneration as well as opportunities for advancement, there are no significant differences in the views of respondents along gender lines. But women and men were certainly not identical in all respects, with women identifying a greater likelihood to seek the guidance of professional career counsellors and the encouragement of mentors than men.

 

Mario Gravelle joined The Counselling Foundation of Canada in early 2011 as Learning and Innovation Analyst. His responsibilities include instituting and overseeing knowledge capture and knowledge transfer activities about projects that the foundation supports. Mr. Gravelle is a doctoral candidate in history at York University (B.A. from Concordia University and M.A. from the University of Ottawa).

 

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