Gallup: U.S. Employees Still Prefer Male to Female Bosses, but Gap Is Smallest on Record

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September 8, 2011; Source: Gallup | As late as 1975, more than six in ten U.S. workers preferred to work for a male boss, as opposed to less than one in ten who would rather report to a woman, according to Gallup. Thirty-six years later, that gap has shrunk dramatically and is now the smallest on record.

While the percentage of U.S. employees who say they prefer a female boss has risen slowly but steadily since Gallup began asking this question in 1953, the percentage preferring a male boss has been remarkably volatile since the late 1980s. Currently a plurality of Americans, 46 percent, say they have no preference as to the gender of their supervisor, while 32 percent would prefer a man and 22 percent would prefer a woman.

Gallup did uncover a key nuance in the data: Older women are much more likely to prefer a male boss than are younger women. Men showed little variation in boss gender preference based on age.—Chris Hartman