How Men and Women View the Workplace Differently

November 15, 2017 Richard Justenhoven
employee engagement

The Gender Gap: a white paper

There is always much debate around the perceived and real differences between men and women at work – be it concerning pay and remuneration, places in the Boardroom or access to relevant career paths.

Recent research by Aon which interrogates nearly 400,000 sets of employee engagement data offers a further lens through which to consider how men and women experience work differently.

From its analysis, Aon suggest that whilst there is a similar overall level of engagement reported by men and women, adopting a one-size-fits-all approach would lose some of the nuances of the differences between the two.

For example:

  • Women are less likely than men to think action will be taken when there are issues of unfairness at work (57%; 62%).
  • Women are less likely than men to think that the organisation’s leaders are trustworthy (61%; 66%) – and yet women are more trusting than men away from work.
  • Women report feeling less challenged at work than men (66%; 71%).
  • Women are less likely than men to feel that they influence decisions made at work (57%; 62%).

Aon’s analysis also reveals how engagement changes over the period of tenure.

As employee’s join an organisation engagement tends to be high but, for women this tails off to a greater extent than for men in the first two years. The White Paper explains that women’s view of their influence and autonomy in their role lessens at twice the decrease rate that men have.
Whilst there is a difference in speed at which engagement levels drop for women and men in the first two years of joining a company, there is a greater difference between their intention to stay dropping 12 and 4 points respectively.

The White Paper also explores how employment level impacts employee engagement; that executives are the most engaged of work groups, with engagement levels tending to rise the higher up an organisation the results are assessed. But the Paper also highlights a further difference between men and women; women in lower level roles are more engaged than men but as they climb through the organisation, they seem to lose this and more senior role women are less engaged than their male counterparts.


The Gender Gap: why men and women experience work differently, Aon plc, 2017

About the Author

Richard Justenhoven

Richard Justenhoven is the product development director within Aon's Assessment Solutions. A leading organizational psychologist, Richard is an acknowledged expert in the design, implementation and evaluation of online assessments and a sought after speaker about such topics.

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