Gender, Managerial Position and Job Satisfaction

Thursday, 2 July 2015: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
TW1.3.03 (Tower One)
Daniela Lup, LSE, London, United Kingdom
The existence of a significant and persistent gap in managerial representation between men and women has been widely documented in the literature (Cohen et al. 2009; Reskin 2008) and exploring its causes has been an important task of the research in the sociology of work and gender as well as in management research. Although a lot of emphasize has been put on understanding its causes, relatively little attention has been paid to its consequences.  This paper focuses on one such consequence by investigating whether and how the gender gap in managerial representation might bear on the job satisfaction of women in managerial positions.

In theory, the gender gap in managerial representation can have consequences at three different levels. First, at the macro level, inequalities in managerial allocation create a two-tier society, in which women earn less than men primarily because they do not have the same access to higher-pay managerial positions. Second, at the organizational level, managerial misallocation can cause talent and skill to remain underutilized. Finally, at the individual level, inequalities in allocation to managerial positions could affect women's job satisfaction. For instance, because women managers are a minority, they often need to adapt to and to play by the rules of the male dominated managerial majority. The constant need to adapt and inability to lever what is their distinct and personal talent, may cause women managers to be less satisfied with their jobs compared to both their male colleagues who are managers, but also compared to women in non-managerial positions.  A situation in which women managers are less satisfied than their colleagues could, in turn, fuel further discrepancies in managerial representation: not only that women find it difficult to accede to managerial position due to the social closure of men networks (Tomaskovic-Devey and Skaggs 2002), but they could also feel less inclined to apply to high rank position if these position are less satisfying.

Exploring whether and how managerial positions affect women's job satisfaction is the main focus on this study. To investigate whether women in managerial positions are more or less satisfied than men mangers and than other women in non-managerial positions, I use data from the British Household Panel Survey from 2000 through 2008. My findings show that, once relevant factors are accounted for, there is significant evidence that, compared to women in non-managerial positions and male managers, women in managerial positions are less satisfied with their jobs. The effects are also present in models that account for individual fixed effects. Specifically, becoming a manager has a positive effect on employees’ job satisfaction, but the magnitude of the effect is lower for women than for men. By using a well suited dataset to answer a simple question, previously not sufficiently addressed (it has been addressed only rarely, in small, cross-sectional samples), this study provides a new lens through which to understand the gap in managerial representation between men and women.