Who does more to help the world, men or women? Well according to men, the answer is: men. A new poll reveals men are more likely to consider their jobs meaningful than women are. Interestingly, though, a majority of both men and women describe their jobs as meaningful, so that's pretty cool regardless. Still, though — what's the deal?
According to a recent YouGov survey, 63 percent of all Americans think their jobs are "making a meaningful contribution to the world," while 24 percent say they are not (17 percent responded "Don't Know"). As ratios go, it could be worse; in Britain it seems that 37 percent think their jobs are meaningless. I suppose that doesn't mean you're automatically unhappy with them... but it still isn't great.
Interestingly, however, it seems that there is a fairly sizable gender gap going on, at least here in the Unitd States. The YouGov poll found that 64 percent of men consider their jobs to be meaningful, while only 54 percent of women felt the same. Men also seem far more confident about the importance of their jobs; only 13 percent replied that they didn't know if their job was meaningful or not, while 21 percent of women said they didn't know.
Basically, men just seem pretty assured of the fact that they're doing important work.
So is this gap due to male arrogance? Female under-confidence? Or are men just nabbing all the good jobs?
My instinct says that it's probably a little of all three. After all, there are no shortage of people to tell you that women aren't as assertive or confident in our own abilities in the workplace — and while I don't agree that "leaning in" is going to solve institutional sexism, the evidence suggesting that women are less confident professionally is pretty compelling. However, the other way to look at that is that men are more arrogant and are in fact overconfident and think too highly of themselves. And there's a lot of evidence that suggests that to be the case as well.
So it makes perfect sense that this gap would translate into men and women taking different overall views of not only their own importance, but the importance of their job.
However, it's also true that men are more likely to hold upper-level jobs, due to that pesky glass ceiling. Which in turn could explain why they are more likely to think their jobs are more meaningful, namely that at the very least their jobs titles are more likely to be more impressive.
So when it comes to equality, no matter how you look at it, we still have a long way to go.