“Among executive board members, women earn 17 percent less than their male counterparts,” according to a recent Economist article.
The article offer explanations for why this might be the case, including career interruptions associated with having kids and simple discrimination. But the most interesting of these possible explanations is the idea that women’s networking style isn’t as effective for career climbing as men’s.
The author suggests that women tend to have smaller networks, but with stronger relationship ties. Men meanwhile stack up weak ties, or acquaintances, and do a better job keeping a high profile within those broad networks. Weak ties are well known to be the more frequent source of new jobs and opportunities.
“Women may, of course, also be hurt by the existing dominance of men on boards and a male preference for filling executive positions with other men,” the author writes. “But a tendency to think of other men first will be amplified if talented women don’t stay on the radar.”
There’s no data in the article to support the idea that men are more likely to develop a broad network and broadcast information to it regularly, but I feel like I see this reflected in my own networking style, and that of men and women I know.
What do you think? Do men have a natural networking style that leads to better career advancement?
Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.