Men And Women On Risk And Failure

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New research from Barclays Wealth & Investment Management in the UK shows that when it comes to entrepreneurs, the gender pay gap is not just diminished but reversed altogether, the Financial Channel reports. High net worth female entrepreneurs earn 14% more than their male peers.

This reversal in the pay gap indicates that women may be better rewarded in a more entrepreneurial environment, which is more market-driven than within a more traditional job role in which pay must be negotiated. Panelists quoted in the report also attribute this pay gap reversal to women tending to be more reluctant to negotiate compensation increases, which can help explain why they typically earn less than men in traditional jobs.

The report also identifies fundamental differences in the attitudes of male and female entrepreneurs when it comes to failure and risk. As many entrepreneurs know, failure can be a valuable and often vital learning tool in setting up a new venture.

However, the Barclays research shows that female business owners tend to value past failures less than their male counterparts. While 60% of male business owners agree that past failure in entrepreneurial endeavors increases the chances that a new business will succeed, this figure falls to 51% for female business owners.

This inability to see the value in failure, or the lessons it brings, may be hindering burgeoning female entrepreneurs, according to the report’s expert panel, who credited failure as being an important source of information, helping entrepreneurs to refine their vision, address shortcomings and increase the overall strength of their business.

Men and women also have very different attitudes to risk-taking, the research reveals. When it comes to taking risks in their investments, high net worth women are less likely than their male counterparts to choose high risk, high return investments or describe themselves as financial risk takers, which carries important implications in an entrepreneurial context.

While the more cautious approach favored by the majority of women may minimize the danger of excessive risk-taking and over-committing resources, it can also mean female business owners may miss opportunities or lose out to competitors who are more willing to take a leap of faith.” (Read more here.)

All very interesting. I would add that women are generally socialized to avoid failure and risk-taking, and also that these female entrepreneurs may be judging, accurately, that risk and failure pose more of a threat to their careers than to men’s.

What do you think—do men and women approach risk and failure differently, in your experience?

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