Some Americans Are Still Clinging to Their Male Bosses

Illustration for article titled Some Americans Are Still Clinging to Their Male Bosses

It's 2014 and yet there are still Americans who'd really prefer working for a man, thanks very much.


That's according to Gallup, which plucked the figures from its annual work and education poll (conducted back in August): 33 percent of respondents preferred male bosses, while 20 percent preferred female bosses. Here's the thing, though: 46 percent of Americans don't give a damn either way. Probably because their main concerns are a) having a job at all and b) working for an understanding human being rather than a nightmare person. That's changed over the years Gallup has been gathering this particular stat:

In 1953, Gallup first asked Americans, "If you were taking a new job and had your choice of a boss, would you prefer to work for a man or a woman?" At that time, 66% of Americans said they preferred a male boss. Five percent said they preferred a female boss, and 25% volunteered that it made no difference.

One interesting result: Gallup's numbers suggest that men are more flexible on the matter: "Men are more likely than women to say they have no preference — 58% mention this response, compared with 34% of women," leaving women more likely to prefer female bosses, but more enamored of dudes overall. However, as Melissa Dahl at The Science of Us points out, that should be taken with a big grain of salt:

As one study abstract put it, "it is well established that self-administered questionnaires tend to yield fewer reports in the socially desirable direction than do interviewer-administered questionnaires." That is, survey respondents actually interacting with the survey-giver, whether over the phone or in person, are more likely to fall victim to social desirability bias, or the very human tendency to answer questions in a self-serving manner.

At any rate, it would be nice to see that percentage of people who don't care either way growing just a little faster. And something tells me leaning in isn't gonna do the trick here.

Photo via AP Images.



Interviewed a (female) candidate for an assistant position (to a female manager, clearly spelled out in the job description). I am female. Female manager is in the interview. Asked applicant which managers she preferred from her work experience, male or female. Looked us both in the eye and said she preferred men, since women "feel like they need to prove their qualification for the job by being catty." Also, that "you never really know how a woman got her job." AND that she was the "work wife" for her previous boss. I broke my pen in half, I was white-knuckling it so bad. I couldn't believe that self-loathing and misogyny like this existed. Dodged bullet, though, I guess.