Male Execs Focused on Getting Ahead

August 11, 2004 ( - From the "Women are from Mars; Men are from Venus" school of thought comes word that male and female executives consider different things important when it comes to being committed to their work.

A survey by ISR, a Chicago HR consultant firm, found that women execs in the US highly value a workplace’s “communal” aspects – working relationships with colleagues, customer quality focus and communications. Their male counterparts, on the other hand, are more driven by what ISR dubbed “personal reward factors” such as career development.

According to ISR, male senior executives in the US listed their workplace priorities as:

  • career development, 19.4%
  • reward, 9.7%
  • stress, balance, and workload 6.5%
  • image, 3.2%.

At the same time, the women’s corresponding list:

  • working relationships, 14.3%
  • customer quality focus, 9.5%
  • communication, 9.5%
  • work tools and conditions, 4.8%.

ISR surveyed 2,157 men and 731 women top executives in five companies between 2000 and 2003.

“These data suggest one reason why women still lag behind men in the senior management ranks in the US – they tend to focus less than men on their advancement,” said Kim Morris, ISR project director, in a news release. “They assume that focusing primarily on the health of the organization will results in recognition and promotions. Perhaps their relative unwillingness to call attention to their own achievements, while helping the company to move forward, is holding them back to some degree.”

Regarding the men’s listing of “stress, balance, and workload,” Morris said most women executives have already had to deal with work-life balance issue earlier in their careers and that many have come to groups with it by the time they reach executive ranks. She said many male executives haven’t had to deal with the issue as much because their spouses tended to handle it before. “Consequently,” Morris said, “male senior executives may be, at this time in their careers, juggling stressors at home and the office that were not present earlier in their careers.”

ISR found a different picture of gender differences in the drivers for workplace commitment at the middle manager level in the US. While male middle managers were still largely focused on getting ahead (leadership, 27.5%; reward, 17.5%) while women listed empowerment (23.8%), supervision (19%), and career development, (9.5%). The company surveyed 17,423 men and 14,522 women middle managers in six companies between 2000 and 2003.

More information about the company is at .