Survey: Americans still prefer a male boss

Fewer Americans today say they work for a female boss than a male boss, and this structural aspect of the workplace in turn likely affects their preferences.

Among working Americans, 54% say they currently work for a man, while 30% work for a woman. Those who currently work for a woman are as likely to prefer having a female boss as a male one. This is one of the few subgroups of the population that does not tilt in the “male boss” direction. Those who currently work for a man prefer a male boss, by 35% to 17%.

It is difficult to establish direction of the relationship between the gender of one’s current boss and one’s preference for the gender of a boss; it is possible that workers who initially prefer a female boss are more likely to end up in circumstances in which they have a female boss. It is also possible that the experience of working for a female boss affects workers’ preferences. If the latter is the case, and if the proportion of U.S. workers who have female bosses increases in the future, the current preference for a male boss in the overall population could dissipate.