COLUMBUS, Ohio -- When making career decisions, men place more importance on earning a high salary while women are slightly more interested in relationships with people, according to new research.
But despite these differences, the study of 2,000 young Israeli adults found that men and women are remarkably similar in the job aspects they consider when choosing a career.
"The few differences we found between men and women conform to sex role stereotypes," said Samuel Osipow, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at Ohio State University.
"It's not surprising that men wanted and expected more money than women did. But we also found that the basic process that men and women go through when choosing a career doesn't seem to be very different."
For example, both men and women placed relatively high importance on finding jobs that allowed for responsibility and variety. But neither men or women worried as much about the
amount of travel involved in the job or the length of training.
Osipow said these basic findings would probably apply to Americans searching for careers because the results of earlier studies reflect commonalities in the career choice process between Israelis and Americans.
Osipow conducted the study with Itamar Gati and Michal Givon of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Their findings appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Counseling Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association.
Data was collected anonymously from 1,252 women and 751 men who used a computer-assisted career decision-making system. The system asked users questions about their career preferences and then suggested appropriate jobs for them. The system is available in the United States only in experimental form.
While men and women didn't show much difference in which job aspects were most important to them, they did differ in other ways. In general, men's preferences were more extreme than women's.
For example, while both men and women indicated job independence was an important quality to them when considering a career, men reported they wanted higher levels of independence than did women.
"In general, men's and women's preferences fit our stereotypes of gender roles," Osipow said. "Men's preferences fit the business and technology orientation and women's preferences are compatible with the stereotyped female social and humanistic orientation."
Still, Osipow said, he was surprised at how alike men and women were in their process for choosing a career.
"For me, that's an encouraging finding. It could be a sign that gender equality in careers is slowly emerging. It also points out that people have a lot more in common with each other than differences," he said.
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Contact: Samuel Osipow, (614) 292-1748
Written by Jeff Grabmeier, (614) 292-8457