Examining women and confidence in the workplace

What's the best way to diversify the corner office?

You may have heard this statistic before, women apply to jobs when they fill 100 percent of the listed qualifications. Men? Only 60 percent.

Those numbers are cited as evidence that women need to be more confident in the workplace, but Tara Sophia Mohr, author of "Playing Big," thinks that's the wrong conclusion.

She did her own study and wrote about it in the Harvard Business Review.

I was skeptical, because the times had decided not to apply for a job because I didn’t meet all the qualifications, faith myself wasn’t exactly the issue. I suspected I wasn’t alone.

So I surveyed over a thousand men and women, predominantly American professionals, and asked them, “If you decided not to apply for a job because you didn’t meet all the qualifications, why didn’t you apply?”

According to the self-report of the respondents, the barrier to applying was not lack of confidence. In fact, for both men and women, “I didn’t think I could do the job well” was the least common of all the responses. Only about 10% of women and 12% of men indicated that this was their top reason for not applying.

About the author

Lizzie O'Leary is the new host of Marketplace Weekend.

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