Have a job opening? You should hire a woman– she might actually perform better.
There are studies to prove it. Research shows that women possess a group of traits that actually make them better investors, decision makers, and overall leaders, explains Sallie Krawcheck, CEO of Ellevest, a digital investment platform that aims to make more women financial players.
While many women fear their gender may be a liability in the job market, the truth is, it’s actually an asset.
We spoke with Krawcheck about how women can take their careers to the next level by playing with a new set of rules that build on their own natural strengths.
A healthy dose of risk awareness
If the stock market crash of 2008 — an event spurred by the excessive risk taking by the group of men who dominated Wall Street — isn’t a strong enough example, there are numerous studies that show that women are inherently more cautious than men, says Krawcheck. It’s why women tend to be better investors than men, and why companies with female CFOS are less likely to make value-destroying purchases, she explains, because they make sure to fully flesh out all positions and discuss the potential downsides before making a final decision. A woman might say, “Let’s not do that acquisition because it’s in another country where we have no experience. Let’s think through that risk, rather than, ‘Hey– let’s go.” So what can women’s risk awareness offer to businesses? More transparency, better decision making, and overall, fewer mistakes, says Krawcheck.
Ability to see the big picture
While men tend to make quicker decisions on average, women make slower, but more effective decisions, says Krawcheck. She uses an analogy of the husband and wife at a restaurant: the man orders immediately upon first glance of the menu, while the woman studies the page like an aspiring lawyer preparing for the bar exam. But that’s only because she’s juggling the complexity of her options, weighing pros and cons so she can make the best overall choice. And while it may be characterized as “slowness,” this holistic view and deep consideration is now more valuable than ever, she explains. “Whereas information was scarce historically, information is abundant today, and so taking into account more factors when making decisions and keeping up with complexity are a value in the changing workplace.”
Strong relationship focus
Anecdotal evidence aside, there is plenty of research to back up the claim that women are more empathetic, better connectors, and natural relationship builders: all skills that matter enormously for success in the workplace, says Krawcheck. After all, “while there are certainly processes and procedures in place, at the end of the day, relationships are what get things done,” she explains. And as technological change continues to accelerate and more jobs become threatened by automation, this is one of the qualities that can’t be outsourced, she adds. There’s also the fact that the advantage of information is slowly fading. “It used to be, ‘I’m really bad with people, but I have all the data,” says Krawcheck. Except now everybody has all the data and so now you’re just bad with people.” In the end, this relationship focus not only allows for greater engagement, she explains, but it turn, also improves profitability, productivity, quality and customer loyalty.
Long term perspective
Research shows that women are good at looking long term, says Krawcheck, a skill that can be extremely valuable. For companies, this expanded view helps to drive sustainable growth, and ultimately helps lead to more innovation and breakthroughs, she explains. And for the women herself, it helps her put her future career goals into perspective, she explains. “That might mean taking a job that pays a lower salary or making a lateral move in order to be on a ladder that they want to climb.”