Mancession Gives Way To He-covery

Man-cession now Man-covery

The recession, which primarily thinned the ranks of men over the last 5 years, may have perhaps given way to a “he-covery.”  The man-cession, as it was dubbed by many, saw employment among men plummet by more than 4.8 million between November 2007 and June 2009, due to massive job losses in male-dominated industries such as construction, manufacturing and financial services.  In contrast, the number of employed women fell by 1.8 million during the same period.  Now, with the economy on the slow road to recovery, men’s fortunes appear to be improving.  Of the net 2.4 million newly created jobs since the June 2009, men have landed 74.7 percent of those.

In the last year, unemployment has dropped from 9.7% to 8.4% for men, but for women, the drop in unemployment has been much less dramatic: 8.5% to 8.0%.  Industries heavily dominated by women are continuing to cut jobs, such as government, where women represent 56.7 percent of the 19.68 million Americans employed in the sector.  At the local government level, where downsizing in the education area has been the heaviest, women now account for just 58.7 percent of the workforce. In June 2009, women accounted for 60.4% of workers in local government.  Still, while women have not fared as well during the three year recovery, things are not all bad. Women have gained 1.58 million jobs since June 2011, while men have gained 1.49 million in the last year. What factors are driving the improvements in male employment? What is the employment outlook for men going forward?  Can women expect an increase in unemployment?  What industries can women find the best employment? 

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. with data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics



Fewer Women Holding Top Jobs In Tech

A new study out this week reveals a glaring lack of women in senior technology positions at U.S.companies.  The survey by technology outsourcing and recruiting firm Harvey Nash Group found that women accounted for just nine percent of the nation’s chief information officers, down from 11 percent last year and 12 percent in 2010.  Women are not exactly flocking into the top spot at technology firms either, according to tracking of CEO turnover by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.  Last year, there were 184 CEO departures at U.S.-based technology firms.  Of the 166 departure announcements in which the replacement CEO was identified, only six were women.  So far this year, just four women have been named as replacement CEOs for the 57 CEO departures announced in the technology sector through April.  The lack of women in the top technology positions may only worsen in the years to come, due to the relative lack of women pursuing tech-related degrees.   The latest available data from the NationalCenterfor Education Statistics show that the percentage of women earning computer and information sciences degrees has actually declined over the last two decades.  In 1992-93, 7,047 women earned 29 percent of the 24,557 bachelor’s degrees awarded in the field of computer and information sciences.  Women represented 28 percent of the 9,530 earning master’s degrees in the same field.  In the class of 2009-10, women accounted for just 18 percent of those earning bachelor’s degrees in computer and information science.  Meanwhile, the number of women earning master’s degrees in this field went from about 2,600 in 1993 to 4,900 in 2010.  The number of men earning master’s degrees expanded by more than 6,100 over the same period, growing from about 6,900 in 1993 to just over 13,000 in 2010.  Could a lack of women pursuing technology degrees lead to labor shortages in the near future? What can schools do to lure more women into science and technology educational tracks? What can companies do to address the dearth of women in technology leadership roles within their organizations?

Reevaluation necessary for moms re-entering workforce

Stay-at-home mothers who have never worked or who have not worked for a long time will find that the climate of the working world has changed significantly over the past 10 years.  Women have made great strides from middle management on through to corporate boardrooms.  It is important for all women to be cognizant of these changes, to better use them advantageously, before embarking on reentry into today’s workforce.

Employers are more open-minded than ever before toward hiring women in general.  Labor shortages in some industries have contributed to this attitudinal change.  Also, employers cannot ignore that more women than men obtained college degrees last year.  The Women’s Research & Education Institute in Washington, D.C., reports that a majority of associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees are earned by women.

In general, women are joining the workforce in record numbers.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the labor-participation rate of women over the age of 25 has doubled within the past 25 years.  As more and more companies adopt more childcare options, flexible work schedules, and telecommuting programs, that percentage will increase. Continue reading

Why Being The "Good" Girl (Or Boy) Won’t Get You Ahead

We here at CGC have been burying ourselves in career advice books on working women, such as Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead But Gutsy Girls Do (Warner Books, ISBN 0-446-67215-7) by Kate White and our beloved Lois Frankel books. Is it possible to be the stereotypical “good” employee (i.e. always does what he/she is told, takes on any task without complaint, avoids controversy, always trys to garner positive opinions, stays out-of-sight and doesn’t take any credit) and get ahead?

Challenger advice stresses the importance of likeability when looking for a job. In order to land a position, a job seeker must first obtain an interview, and second make the interviewer like her. Be pleasant and sociable, all the while demonstrating your desire to work hard and be a much-needed asset to the company – basically, do anything to get the job. However, it’s never a good idea to be a door mat.

Kate White says gutsy girls get ahead, not good ones. A few selected items from her book:

A gutsy girl…
-breaks the rules – or makes her own
-does only what’s essential
-doesn’t worry whether people like her
-asks for what she wants
-takes smart risks
(page 7)

Kate White also discusses beliefs to which good girls conform. For instance, that you shouldn’t ask for anything because then you seem desperate and greedy (chapter 8), that you should accept “no” sitting down, that you should work harder than necessary (chapter 5). These myths will not advance your career, on the contrary, they will lead to more unnecessary work without much benefit. Once you’ve secured a position, it is essential to demonstrate, in plain view of decision-makers, that you are an intelligent, informed, efficient leader in order to advance your career.

"5 Risk-Taking Exercises for ‘Nice Girls’"

**The following is an article featuring advice from Richard E. Byrd on what women can do to reach their potential**

“When people are afraid to be assertive in meetings, it’s often because they fear being seen as obnoxious and aggressive,” says Richard E. Byrd, a Minneapolis-based consultant and pioneering advocate of personal risk taking in organizations. “But the result is they are seen as jellyfish–compliant, easily manipulated and taken for granted.”

Too many managers don’t live up to their potential contribution in the workplace and have little impact on other people because they avoid taking risks, according to Byrd, who is also an advisory board member of the 3M Company’s Meeting Management Institute. “There’s a gap between what interpersonal risks we think we can take and still be accepted and valued and the actual acceptable limits,” says Byrd.

In his book, A Guide to Personal Risk Taking (available from the Richard E. Byrd Company in Edina, Minnesota; 612-925-1757), Byrd offers five exercises to help develop your self-assertion muscles. The exercises are for those who want to stretch toward more self-confidence and assertiveness while still being good team members.

• 1 State opinions with absolute conviction. Put your feelings of doubt aside, and practice stating an opinion that you hold to be 70-percent true in a 100-percent tone of voice: “We’ll have that shipment to you in 30 days,” or “That’s a waste of money.”

If you are wrong, people Will say, “Winifred may not always be right, but you know what she thinks.” If you are right people will say, “Hey, Winifred is right again.” she thinks.” If you are right people will say, “Hey, Winifred is right again.”

If challenged, repeat your assertion. Whether challenged or not, you will have an impact because your tone will often provoke more discussion on the topic and lead to a better decision.

• 2 Stop talking to yourself. Instead of letting negative feelings fester inside, deal with them immediately. In a dull meeting, for example, you may think to yourself, “How long will this confounded meeting last?” Chances are good that other people are feeling the same way. Interrupt and ask, “Is this meeting really necessary?” or “Can we set a time limit?”

Or perhaps you feel you have been put down in a meeting or when talking with someone one-on-one. Instead of saying to yourself, “What makes that so-and-so think he can talk to me like that?” say right away, “Excuse me, I must not have made myself clear.”

Expressing your feelings on the spot prevents you from inappropriately transferring your feelings to subordinates and loved ones. It also helps you avoid stockpiling feelings that can lead to a serious outburst later.

• 3 Be a prodigal child. Demand more from others rather than try to meet their demands. For example, ask for the resources you need to do the project instead of automatically trying to make do with what is offered. Don’t make allowances for people who are late or turn in inferior work. Demand your money back when you receive shoddy goods or services.

In making demands, you may feel brazen or unkind. But you will never appear as obnoxious to others as you do to yourself. The “I want” and “I need” tendencies are often destroyed early in life by well-meaning parents and teachers. We need to reawaken the self-seeking, narcissistic part of ourselves and balance it with the self-effacing, altruistic, helpful part.

• 4 Be a lousy listener. When someone is taking up your time by talking too much, look at your watch or roll your eyes. The person talking will get the message.,Polite listeners become easy prey for inconsiderate talkers. What’s more, by trying to appear polite, you become an inactive listener and thus inconsiderate yourself.

Another way to be a lousy listener is to wait for an opening, respond briefly to what the person is saying and then quickly change the subject: “Yes those assessments seem unfair. Which reminds file, what are we going to do about the mistakes on that financial report?”

Or when someone begins to make excuses for being late or not performing at the expected level, try saying, “I don’t want to listen. Just be on time.”

As a lousy listener be selective about use of your time. Don’t start a meeting or conversation until you and the participants agree on how long it will last. “I’ve got 20 minutes. Is that enough time?”

• 5 Avoid accepting the problem. Try not to accept responsibility for everyone’s feelings, and stop letting everyone lean on you. When someone begins to dump their negative opinions, try asking, “What can you do about that?”

Let’s say, for example, that a colleague constantly complains about the “unfairness of the system” and, by implication, holds you accountable. Decide whose problem it is–yours or the colleague’s. If it’s not your problem, don’t be a garbage can. Try asking, “How would you change it?”

Of all five exercises, the fifth probably involves the most risk. While the first four can be practiced with almost anyone at almost any time, the fifth should be practiced with family and friends before trying it with coworkers and strangers. Also you may need to plan out how to avoid accepting others’ problems and practice exactly what you can say to put your plan into action.

Byrd calls these five suggestions for risk taking “exercises” because he does not intend them to become lifelong habits. In the extreme, they can turn a person into a verbally aggressive, demanding, rude and callous troublemaker, but used in moderation they will help a “too nice” person grow emotionally and uncover hidden strengths.

In doing the exercises you risk angering or offending a lot of people. At worst, you could lose a job or spouse, says Byrd, “but that is unlikely unless you are reckless. You are most likely to discover, much to your surprise, that people will respect you more, think more of your judgment and be less likely to push you around.”

"Why Too Few Women Make It To The Top"

Judith Devries, our Director of Learning found these tips from Dr. Lois Frankel on women in business. We especially liked the last tip.

Why Too Few Women Make It To The Top

For many women, the business ladder turns out to be slippery, but why? “It’s time for women to stop acting like girls,” says corporate coach Lois P. Frankel, who pinpoints 101 mistakes women make that sabotage their careers in Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office.

THEY DON’T PLAY THE GAME Women tend to see work as an event where everyone comes together to play nicely. Not only is business a game, it’s a game that changes.

It has rules, boundaries, winners, losers. Never forget that you’re there to win the game of business.

THEY WORK TOO HARD Women complain that they do more than anyone else, and they do! No one gets promoted purely because of work. Likability, strategic thinking, networking are all part of success. If you’re not wasting a little time building relationships, you’re doing something wrong.

THEY MAKE THEIR OFFICES TOO GIRLY By emphasizing your femininity, you diminish credibility. Another mistake: feeding others. Unless you’re Betty Crocker, there shouldn’t be cookies or candies on your desk.

THEY DON’T CAPITALIZE ON RELATIONSHIPS Men rely on relationships to open doors for them. [Unlike women] they don’t see this as taking advantage. There is success by affiliation.

THEY SKIP TOO MANY MEETINGS Meetings are not about content. They’re about seeing and being seen. It’s about show-and-tell–go to the meetings.

THEY’RE TOO MODEST Blow your own horn! Women don’t talk about their accomplishments enough.

THEY ASK FOR PERMISSION INSTEAD OF PRESENTING A PLAN We expect children to ask for permission. So when you have an idea, state it in positive, affirmative statements.

THEY EXPLAIN TOO MUCH Women tend to give more information than one would need. People tune out after the first 30 seconds. The message should be crisp.



Here at Challenger, we know the relevance of joining and creating the discussion of working women. That’s why we will be doing a series of posts on the subject!

Check in over the next couple days for insights into the world of the working woman; how to position yourself for growth and why you might not be getting where you need to!

See you soon,
Challenger Coaches