Women are more motivated to start-up a business than men, a leading small business lobbyist has claimed, following new research that reveals significant differences in employees’ goals depending on gender.
A survey of 7,000 Australian workers by HR firm Randstad reveals men are more likely to look for money, career progression and job security when job hunting, while women are after flexible workplaces with a strong culture and a good work/life balance.
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Peter Strong, executive director of the Council of Small Business of Australia, say women value flexibility because of other commitments such as kids, which propels them to start a business.
“This is why we’re seeing more women (starting up than men). They’re in business because they want to be in charge of themselves. They don’t want to answer to someone else,” he says.
Randstad chief executive Fred van der Tang says the research highlights a clear division between the priorities of men and women when it comes to work.
“It is important for employers to recognise that men and women often have very different requirements and it is wise to focus on applying this knowledge through the entire hiring process,” he says.
“Employers need to arm themselves for the talent war. As the labour market tightens, knowing your company’s strengths and weaknesses, and what attributes jobseekers are specifically looking for in an employer, can prove a powerful weapon.”
Strong says the research sends a stronger message about the motivating factors for men and women when deciding to start a business.
“Contrary to popular belief, you don’t start a business in pursuit of money; you become a merchant banker for the money,” Strong says.
“Most people start a business for the lifestyle and the flexibility it allows – they want to be in charge of what they’re doing.”
Strong says a lot of women who start their own business come from corporate backgrounds, and are either put off by the lack of gender inequality in the workplace or believe they could do a better job than their employer.
Melanie Kansil, a member of women’s entrepreneurship network Heads over Heels, says many women sit on the “corporate sidelines” due to a boys’ club mentality, prompting them to start their own business.
“What I see among the very talented women I know is that the traditional corporate way of working just doesn’t suit them… It doesn’t suit their lifestyle,” she says.
Strong says women should be wary of starting a business primarily for lifestyle reasons because they often find themselves working more than they did in their former role.