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Does Sales (Or Tech) Have Any Gender Problems? Y or N? If Yes, How Would You Describe It In Three Sentence Or less?

Someone recently posed this question to me on LinkedIn.

My answer:

"Yes, a bad one. Sales has a tradition of being an 'old boys club' and this has unfortunately become a self perpetuating prophecy. We all have an unconscious bias to give opportunity to people who are similar to us so it will take immediate & conscious effort across all industries in order to make a change."

Would love to hear everyone's thoughts on the subject.

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    • 1
      Profile picture of Dae Kang
      @saleslearner
      ( 2.3k POINTS )
      1 year, 1 month ago

      Scott, I’m SO glad I came across your post! This seems to be a hot topic right now. Do you have a poll on LI you’ve started or anything? I’d be happy to contribute. 🙂

      ABSOLUTELY there is a ‘gender problem,’ as you put it, in the workplace. I can’t speak to the issues on the actual orientation of your gender, but how the different genders are treated. I think this issue goes beyond the ‘boys club’ where women are excluded from the company’s whatever but can cross over into unequal pay, sexual harassment, promotional opportunities, opportunities in general, and respect.

      One scenario where I’ve witnessed an obvious gender gap, are companies where most of their demographics are boomer generation. Now, they were born and raised in a VERY different time, with a VERY different mindset and views of the opposite sex, in which some of those stigmas are still very much alive, and still remain untrue. 🙂 Some companies that were incepted in the earlier 20th century and have a longstanding company culture and personal attitudes, makes it hard for cultures to grow and adapt to be inclusive of everyone. Which is unfortunate. In my last job, my manager was a female, and over time, naturally, I got to know her story. She definitely had some unique adversities that I had NEVER experienced due to my gender. After hearing her unfair situations and still breaking through barriers, I was amazed. She was able to ‘open my eyes’ on this issue and I had to reflect. I NEVER wanted to receive anything if I didn’t earn it, it’s not fair, and inaccurate assessment of my own personal growth and development. This is when I learned to EDIFY! EDIFY your colleagues’ achievements and their competency to your leadership, regardless of who they are. They were hired for a job and executed with excellence. It’s what leaders DO!

      I know that there are lots of promotions out there to bring equality in the workplace. I feel like we need to do more than just promote good ideas, but also discuss practical CTA to start initiating change. We can all start with ourselves 🙂 Don’t be an a$$. We’re all human beings trying to make it in this crazy thing called LIFE! Let’s help each other out. For me, if you’ve got a dream, and you’re committed, I’ll help in any way I can. 🙂 REGARDLESS of your background, gender, sex, race, religious view, etc.

      Avoid negative people, they’ll have a problem for every solution. Love them from a distance. Serve those who are also doing good in the market place.

      I don’t know if this answers the entirety of your question (it’s a big question), but hope my response was helpful.

    • 2
      Profile picture of Maria Bross
      @mbross
      ( 665 POINTS )
      1 year, 1 month ago

      @scott-barker We definitely have gender problems and also agree that it is often unconscious- but we can no longer use that as an excuse. Leaders need to take action by reviewing everything from the tone of their job postings to access to career pathing and mentoring internally. We also have to be deliberate in building a culture to ensure that both women and men are empowered to speak up when they aren’t treated with respect.

      Love that you all are surfacing these issues!

      • 0
        Profile picture of Amy Hrehovcik
        @amyhre
        ( 4.1k POINTS )
        1 year, 1 month ago

        ::hearts::

    • 1
      Profile picture of Annika Ehrig
      @girheakinna
      ( 740 POINTS )
      1 year, 1 month ago

      I have 2 jobs:
      I work with a team of all men and we are killing it.
      I work with another team of all women and we are killing it.
      Culture is everything. But anyone can succeed it sales.

      • 1
        Profile picture of Stephanie Lippincott
        @slipps
        ( 2.8k POINTS )
        1 year, 1 month ago

        This. I have a dual role in sales and marketing on a small team and both my colleagues are males. We’re killing it. My gender is not a leverage point. My skills are. Culture is 100% everything. There are things I wish were different, but my ability or inability to succeed because of my gender is not one of them.

    • 1
      Profile picture of Nicole Sterkel
      @nicolesterkel
      ( 1.2k POINTS )
      1 year, 1 month ago

      Thank you for putting this to the community. My $0.02 is that toxic company culture is pervasive enough to discourage women from pursuing sales and leadership positions proportional to men. Don’t get me wrong – some companies are getting it right. But I’ve experienced a particularly insidious brand of performative allyship in the recent past that makes me reflect on the old axiom “actions speak louder than words.”

    • 0
      Profile picture of Mariah Schell
      @mschell1
      ( 450 POINTS )
      1 year ago

      Thanks for opening the discussion, Scott! I personally have experienced the “boys club” mentality and while it wasn’t a pleasant experience I wouldn’t change it. Thankfully, it never got to the point where I truly felt uncomfortable but it wasn’t inclusive by any means.

      I have pushed myself to become more outspoken and the experience made me more aware of how to assert myself in certain situations.

      If anything it gave me grit. However, I didn’t stay at the company so if organizations want to decrease turnover and keep their talent then they DEFINITELY need to make a change.

    • 0
      Profile picture of Jen Ferguson
      @jenferguson
      ( 1.8k POINTS )
      5 months, 4 weeks ago

      I think this goes back to the focus on hiring, “culture fit”. When leaders focus on hiring people who they might want to have a beer with, instead of looking at the value of bringing on people who bring a different perspective. It is a problem.

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