More than 60 percent of women—equivalent to a quarter of the U.S. population— do not consider sales as a career option
NEW YORK, N.Y., October 14, 2015 —The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian), one of the nation’s largest mutual life insurers, today announced findings from a new study focused on women and sales careers, and the gender imbalance that remains across industries despite considerable efforts by many companies over the past few decades.
Guardian’s Closing the Gender Gap in Sales study reveals that personal, cultural and industry barriers still exist for many women considering a career in sales today.
Sixty percent have not even considered a job in sales, and only 22 percent of women surveyed were even somewhat open to a career in sales.
A collision of expectations
Guardian’s study identifies five personal barriers that stifle women’s interest in sales careers, showing how social norms and women’s career expectations often collide:
- Women choose humility over hubris
Ultimately, women fear they don’t have the ego-driven personality they need to succeed in sales—77 percent say they’re not pushy enough for the job.
- Women stifle their inner swagger
Seventy-two percent say they can lead their team to success at work, however women rank being a leader 11th among their top traits.
- Inertia feels safer than risk
One in two women is most comfortable sticking to her routine. Women play it safe, which influences why they think sales isn’t for them and 57 percent don’t know what it would take to be successful in sales.
- Women are navigating the workforce without a career map
One in three women says she doesn’t have a leader to guide her along the way. Having a mentor or a roadmap to help navigate what to expect during a career change would provide many with a guide toward success.
- Perfection equals pressure
Eighty percent set the bar very high for themselves professionally. Seventy percent of respondents indicate that they’d always be stressed and under pressure in a sales job.
“Across industries, we need to help women overcome the cultural, personal and industry barriers in order to understand that, based on what they want in their careers—and in life—sales can be a great fit,” said Emily Viner, vice president of agency growth and development at Guardian.
“A lack of outreach and open dialogue about the way sales careers can look means women are unlikely to seek them out, regardless of industry. Many women are unaware that their functional and emotional needs can be met by what a sales career can offer.”
“At Guardian, we are committed to making a change, helping women connect the dots between the type of life they want and what a career in sales can offer,” said Viner. For women who have considered a sales position in the past, three-quarters of them would consider it in the future; suggesting women who have explored a sales opportunity saw it as a potentially rewarding, meaningful career.