Is It True that People Don't Prefer Working With or For Women?
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

There’s always been that age-old argument that women are difficult to work with or for. The reasons often range from, “They’re just too emotional” to “They don’t know how to be aggressive enough in solving problems or taking the lead.”

As many know, these notions aren’t always the norm nor are they often fair. And findings from a recent Pew Research study actually found that many don’t necessarily agree with them.

While a large minority of adults think that men would prefer to work alongside other men, a little more than half (52%) said they don’t think it matters to men one way or the other. Specifically, 40% of female respondents said that men mostly prefer working with other men, while 32% of male respondents said the same.

Fifty-eight percent of men said that they think it “doesn’t matter to men,” higher than 46% among female peers. And millennials of both genders are more likely than older generations to believe that men prefer having women as co-workers.

So what about the ladies? When women were asked whether they mostly prefer to work with other women or with men—or whether it matters at all—a majority of adults (59%) said it doesn’t matter to women. Sixty-five percent of female respondents said co-workers’ gender doesn’t matter to women, compared with only 53% of male respondents.

It seems that when it comes to perceptions vs. experiences, the scales don’t really balance. When respondents with any work experience were asked whether they prefer to work mostly with men or with women, 77% said it doesn’t matter either way.

Of those who actually did express a preference, only 14% of women and 18% said they prefer to have men as co-workers. Millennials (at 11%) were found to be least likely to say say they would prefer men as co-workers.

Janell Hazelwood

Janell Hazelwood is associate managing editor at Black Enterprise, managing content across core areas of Money, Career, Small Business and Technology. She is also a featured blogger with My Two Cents, providing insights on branding, millennial career development, employment trends and leadership. She was previously a content producer and copy editor for Black Enterprise magazine, working across several editorial sections. The Hampton University graduate got her start in the newspaper industry, having worked for companies including The New York Times and Scripps Howard News Service. Her works and insights have appeared on The Huffington Post, MadameNoire, E!Online, Brazen Careerist, CBS News, and Arise TV.