October 15, 2013 Practice Points

Women Professionals Place More Value on Recognition and Respect in the Workplace Than Their Male Counterparts

By Angela A. Turiano

A new study by Thomson Reuters of more than 1,000 professionals from five countries, namely Brazil, China, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States, found that while both male and female professionals are collaborative, entrepreneurial, and share similar work style and habits, women tend to place a higher value on obtaining recognition and respect in the workplace than their male counterparts. The study focused on five key global industries, namely finance and risk, legal, tax and accounting, scientific research and development, and healthcare and health services.

The study found that nearly equal proportions of men and women said they preferred a collaborative team environment (55 percent and 56 percent, respectively) and that they wanted to be entrepreneurial in their jobs (46 percent and 48 percent, respectively). Other commonalities among male and female professionals included the importance of problem solving, having career goals and a vision of what they wanted to achieve, and being challenged at work. The study concluded, however, that the one significant area where the genders diverged was with regard to recognition and respect. More specifically, women more strongly desired recognition by management for their accomplishments and respect from their colleagues than men by a margin of 63 percent to 53 percent and 61 percent to 53 percent, respectively. The study did not affirmatively determine whether the reason for this gender differential was that women value recognition more than men or that they simply are not getting the respect they deserve. That being said, while noted that women may be more desirous of recognition to the extent they did not receive it in the past, the study more strongly suggested that a lack of proper respect was the true issue and asks the question of whether women are being recognized enough for their contributions. Regardless of the reason, however, the study advised that supervisors/managers should take note of this differential and attempt to address it.

Ultimately, the study concluded that while female professionals seek respect and recognition more than men, the multitude of commonalities among both genders suggest that all professionals want access to as much information as possible to assist them with their jobs and provide them with a “seat at the table” so their voices can be heard. They further want to work for a company with values, that cares about their employees, and that they overall can believe in. Accordingly, if managers treat all employees with respect, e.g., as people who can make valuable contributions to a collaborative team, and share with them the information they need to do their jobs, this will result in a happier, more engaged, and more productive workforce.

Keywords: woman advocate, litigation, women professionals, recognition and respect, workplace

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