Gaps, EQ, PP

Two quick items. First, Torsten Bell of the Resolution Foundation posted an update chart from UCAS, confirming the continuing gap between women and men in university entrance. The chart below shows the unmistakeable trend since the crossover point in 1996. Since the Paula Principle came out in 2017, the gap has continued to widen – and it seems now that the numbers of male applicants has actually turned down. So we will soon have getting on for two female graduates for every male.

Previous posts have shown how this increasing female/male qualification gap has not effectively closed – or even much narrowed – the male/female careers gap. So the PP applies as much as ever.

The second item is more specific. I have written a bit about ‘collective intelligence‘ in the workplace – the idea that working together as a group is often what counts, as distinct from (though not unrelated to) individual intelligences. As a generalisation, women are more inclined to pool their intelligences, and to make groups work. But rewards – pay rises and promotions – are necessarily allocated to individuals. As a result this form of competence – the capacity to bring out the best from a group of people – usually itself goes unrewarded.

Now an interesting interview in The Times (4 Jan) with Daniel Goleman – of EQ fame – adds substance to this. Goleman is that author of the extraordinarily successful Emotional Intelligence, published in the 1990s. In the interview he cites further evidence, from the work of Anita Woolley, which confirms that when it comes to working in groups women score significantly higher than men. In her research the biggest predictor of group performance was the proportion of women on the team. Of course, Goleman warns, we should not discriminate against men, and each case should be judged in its merits. Yet, I would argue, we need do more to factor these kinds of results into our systems of reward and recognition.

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