New research from the Journal of Happiness Studies asks: Why Managerial Women are Less Happy Than Managerial Men?
In a very large research sample of German employees and managers they found the following: “Overall, female managers reported slightly lower life satisfaction than their male counterparts, consistent with past research. They also seemed to find higher pay less rewarding than men. Based on correlations between life satisfaction and pay across male and female managers, on the researchers’ estimate it would take an extra €12,000 of pay to boost a woman’s life satisfaction by the same amount that a man would gain from an extra €5,000 of pay.”
Researchers hypothesize that increases in free time would be more associated with happiness for female managers more than male managers, and the lack of balance of free time (because many take on additional roles in the home) was at the centre of female dissatisfaction.
“Brockmann and her colleagues pointed out that the lack of gender parity at senior management levels isn’t solved by simply bringing women into the boardroom, as this may just consign them to an unhappy stay. A major problem is that in most working cultures leadership positions “require a non-stop lifelong commitment to extra-long working hours and early career path-dependencies” which may repel women who particularly value their free time.”
The solution? More free time for senior managers.
Read the article summary here.
Whether this is the case remains to be seen. Any reader of Sheryl Sandberg will acknowledge that this research might be too reductionist. First reaction to this study is that taking extra time away whilst a manager puts anyone in a vulnerable position, much less a female. Any researcher will tell you that the findings are limited to German workers and managers. Just in the language used in this article they suppose women will take on more of the housework. The extent to which women take on housework is culturally varied, as well as generationally varied.
That being said, I would not be opposed to more vacation time…