Female managers have the engagement advantage says Gallup report

Female managers are more engaged and inspire more engagement, according to The State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders report.

The report, released in May by US consulting company Gallup, provides an in-depth look at what sets great managers apart from the rest – to make it easier for leaders to find, hire and develop the best managers.

Among other findings across both genders such as talent and certain behaviours, one outcome was female managers have an engagement advantage. While there are great female and male managers, Gallup found that female managers are more likely to be engaged than male managers.


In the report individuals who work for a female manager are more engaged, on average, than those who work for a male manager. Female employees working for female managers have the highest engagement (35% engaged), while male employees working for male managers have the lowest engagement (25% engaged). Employees of female managers outscore employees of male managers on 11 of 12 engagement items.

The following is an excerpt:

In 1953, Gallup first asked Americans, “If you were taking a new job and had your choice of a boss, would you prefer to work for a man or a woman?” At that time, 66% of Americans said they preferred a male boss. Five percent said they preferred a female boss, and 25% volunteered that it made no difference to them.

A little more than six decades later, Gallup asked Americans the same question and found that they are still more likely to say they would prefer a male boss (33%) to a female boss (20%) in a new job, although 46% say it doesn’t make a difference to them. While women are more likely than men to say they would prefer a female boss, they are still more likely to say they would prefer a male boss overall.

Despite these sentiments, Gallup discovered that employees who work for a female manager in the U.S. are actually more engaged, on average, than those who work for a male manager. However, only one in three (33%) working Americans say they currently have a female boss.

While there are many highly successful female and male managers, female managers do have a slight advantage when it comes to engagement. And it’s an advantage leaders should consider when deciding whom to name manager.

Leaders should also know that female managers themselves tend to be more engaged than male managers. Gallup finds that 41% of female managers are engaged at work, compared with 35% of male managers.

In fact, female managers of every working-age generation are more engaged than their male counterparts, regardless of whether they have children in their household. These findings have profound implications for the workplace.
If female managers, on average, are more engaged than male managers, it stands to reason that they are likely to contribute more to their organization’s current and future success.