Back To Career News

Americans Prefer a Male Boss to a Female Boss


A Gallup poll released yesterday found that Americans still prefer a male boss over a female, when taking a new job. The good news is that even more workers had no preference at all.


(Photo Credit: Seattle Municipal Archives/Flickr)

Four out of 10 survey respondents said that had no preference whatsoever as to the gender of their manager. Thirty-five percent said they preference a male boss; 23 percent preferred a female boss. Gallup notes that these numbers haven’t changed much in recent years, although they have changed significantly since they first asked this question in 1953, when 66 percent of Americans preferred working for a man, and only 5 percent preferred working for a woman.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Most interestingly, the gender breakdown showed that women had a stronger preference as to whether they wanted to work for a man or a woman — regardless of what their preferences were.

“Women are more likely than men to prefer both male bosses (40 percent versus 29 percent) and female bosses (27 percent versus 18 percent), while just over half of men are indifferent to the gender of the big kahuna,” writes Katy Waldman at Slate. Waldman then asks: “(Women: More opinionated in general? Or more sensitive to questions of gender in the workplace?)”

There are still more male bosses than female ones in the American workplace: 54 percent currently work for a man, while 30 percent work for a woman. Those who work for a male boss currently would prefer to work for one in the future, while respondents who work for a female boss are divided on which gender they’d prefer in a manager.

Gallup says that this divided preference among those who work for female managers might indicate that workers will be more willing to report to a woman in the future; as the number of women in charge increases, the theory goes, so will the number of people who are comfortable having women in charge.

On the other hand, workers between the ages of 35 and 54 were most comfortable with female bosses, with younger workers’ opinions aligning with the average. This “suggests that the aging of today’s workforce may not in and of itself produce changes in these attitudes in the years ahead,” Gallup says.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you prefer working for a man or a woman? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
Read more from Jen

Leave a Reply

1 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
1 Comment authors
jezebel Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

women are either absolutely passive and lack no leadership qualities just hoping everyone just “gets along” or they overcompensate and are so aggressive it’s a turn off.

I still prefer a man over the sad excuses I’ve have for female managers and directors on the last 18 years.

What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.