Sometime back I came across a job posting – a retail sales position with an ITES company.

What caught my attention was the statement – “Male Candidates Only”.

Being a #womeninsales champion, I was intrigued to read this. So investigated…

Turns out, the said company was trying to be considerate towards women by not opening this job role to them. They of course had the corporate sales open to female candidates as well.

The reason being, the corporate role would require them to meet with educated clients and the retail segment had uneducated clients who may not speak well. It’s, therefore, better for a woman to deal with corporate clients and let the men handle the retail clients.

So, there is an explanation. But I wanted to explore more. So I asked my LinkedIn connections to share their views and experiences on this.

The Female Perspective

Most connections agreed that this is a pertinent issue and what plays most in such cases is the unconscious bias towards women. With alike-thinking men sitting at the helm of certain organizations these apparent biases are termed as unintended and sympathetic view.

The questions to here are:

  • Who asked for this sympathy?
  • Why are you deciding on behalf of women?

Let women make the choices they want to make, at least give them the opportunity to make the choice.

Organizations and leaders of organizations need to make a conscious effort to include and invite women at the table, question pre conceived notions. An HR leader is an influencer and needs to play that active role of showing the right path

There has to be inclusive leadership at the top to lead.

The Male Perspective

As perceived by male colleagues, it is predominantly more a matter of having adequate & upto date “product knowledge”, having excellent “selling skills” (mainly communication skills) and having right “attitude” towards selling – than gender per se.

With the above three attributes (of Knowledge, Skills & Attitude), women are likely to be equally effective (if not more) as their men counterparts.

However, there can be jobs that require a lot of travel time which may not be convenient for women. So companies believe that it would be difficult for female candidates to meet this particular criteria, thus preferring male candidates only.

So there must be a reason for such criteria, though there is a significant preference for male candidates for machine-related, sales, or elementary jobs.

Now, over to you..

What do you think about this? Have you faced this dilemma as a job applicant, or recruiter? How do you go through this?

Share your comments below.