Male Boss or Female Boss?

You might guess that men prefer a male boss and women prefer a female boss. In fact, the reality is more complicated. Gallup’s latest polling on the matter finds a higher proportion of women than men prefer a female boss(23 percent to 13 percent). But women are also more likely than men to say they prefer a male boss (32 percent to 29 percent). Men, meanwhile, are more likely than women to claim they have no preference (57 percent vs. 43 percent). Adding the “prefer female” numbers to the “no preference” numbers, Gallup concludes that men are more likely than women to feel “accepting” of a female boss (70 percent to 66 percent). This finding is no fluke: In two decades of polling on the issue, Gallup has invariably found men more accepting than women of the idea of a female boss. As the chart indicates, female aversion to a female boss is concentrated among older women. People who already have a female boss are unscathed by the experience. Among those who now work for a woman but have had a male boss in the past, female bosses are preferred to the male ilk by 32 percent to 24 percent, while 43 percent say they have no preference. There’s not a significant gender gap in the preferences of these respondents.