Men Just Want The Money Now; Women Focus On The Long Haul

You know, I never tire of a male vs. female comparison piece that starts off with some slight variation on the Mars/Venus schtick. This article checked that box.

A survey of students pursuing business administration degrees at universities in Texas revealed that men and women approach their career goals in very different ways, so get ready to be surprised by those ways!

The study surveyed students whose average age was 29, and more than one third are studying finance at either the University of Texas-Austin, Southern Methodist, Rice, and Texas A&M.

Female students said that when accepting a job, they were less interested in the starting salary and more interested in long-term potential, like things like employer-sponsored educational opportunities, training, growth opportunities, and more responsibility down the line.

Male students, on the other hand, were most concerned with negotiating a larger starting salary or larger bonus.

Because of these differences, employers are being encouraged to "adjust their recruiting message" to target men who seem to be focused on numbers alone:

For example, consumer products firms, which historically have trouble attracting men, could highlight the competitive wages they offer. Or they could emphasize challenging work or the chance to become a technical expert — both mentioned often by male survey respondents.

The survey reinforces observations of Deanna Fuehne,executive director of the career management center at the Jones School of Business at Rice University, which has 750 students in MBA programs.

When she counsels MBA candidates on evaluating job offers, women focus on career development, while men want to know how to negotiate a bigger bonus, Fuehne said. It's a variation on the age-old bottom-line guy question, "What's for dinner?" she said.

She said Rice University graduates often have a chance to explore the worlds of both Mars and Venus — high salary and opportunity for growth — because Houston's energy companies are competing for top talent.

Hooray! More Mars/Venus references! And here I thought the beginning of the article would be my only chance to read 'em!

It's going to be difficult for me to get through this article without saying something about how men are all like "What's for dinner?" and women are all like, "I'm not even that hungry. No, really. I'm, like, so full!"

Okay. We may now proceed.

While women opt out of investment banking, men are drawn to the risk-reward volatility.

"Men love it," Fuehne said. They're not as worried about where it will lead in five years.

Alina Tkachova, who graduated in May with an MBA from the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, said her male classmates wouldn't even bother applying for a job if the salary wasn't high enough.

But money was secondary to Tkachova, 23, who received a lot of interest from consulting firms and ultimately accepted an offer with a large oil field services company based in Houston. She starts her new job Monday.

The company has a three-year program in supply chain management that will rotate Tkachova and her new colleagues through a new job every six months. She hopes that will lead to a managerial position.

While it can certainly be true that female MBA candidates are more inclined to seek out jobs offering flexibility because of the potential want for a family down the line, I think this can also speak to the larger differences in which women are socialized to approach pay negotiations.

In a rough and totally unscientific personal survey, a fair number of my female friends have said they do not feel comfortable negotiating their salary at the beginning of their employment, and often feel hesitant to do so even after being employed by a company for years (nothing new there; women asking — or not asking — for raises is always part of the salary-gap discussion). They do, however, seem to find some consolation in the fact that they may be promoted one day and often see such possibilities as a reason to hope for a better future with the company.

That said, I've also found that my male friends seem to be much less willing to go for a future potential pay-off that may or may not exist, and therefore are more likely to ask what's in it for them right at the beginning, just in case tomorrow never comes.

Mars and Venus, folks. Mars. Venus.

Working: Degrees are the same, but goals worlds apart [Chron]