In celebration of International Women’s Week, we at Female Breadwinners are starting with new research proving what many of us already intuited; that women are more efficient thinkers. As discussed in the Daily Telegraph: “Scientists have been long puzzled over why women can show just as much intelligence as men, although their brains are eight per cent smaller. Now a study by universities in Los Angeles and Madrid have shown that for women, brain size does not matter because they are more “efficient”.
The research, published in the journal Intelligence described that: “Despite the fact the women had smaller brains they performed better in inductive reasoning, some numerical skills and were better at keeping track of a changing situation – although men did better on spatial intelligence. The researchers concluded that women’s brains are able to complete and even excel at complicated tasks with less energy and fewer neurons. At this structural level, females might show greater efficiency requiring less neural material for achieving behavioural results on a par with males,” the paper read.
Women’s increased efficiency should be heralded as good news by employers. Our Clients are working longer hours and often operate in organisational cultures where presenteeism is the name of the game for promotion. To get ahead, men and women must entertain clients and network after an already long day. Additionally, they take calls with colleagues and clients spanning many time zones and respond to requests at all hours of the day. As discussed in the research, being able to keep track of a “changing situation” should be lauded as a highly valuable 21st century skill.
To this point, measuring and rewarding people solely on the numbers of their ‘desk bound hours’ is inefficient. Many of our clients are professional services firms where billable hours has historically measured someone’s ‘commitment and value’ to the firm. It is an increasingly antiquated system that rewards inefficiency in the long term. The question becomes: what is the motivation of doing things in less time if we are paid on an hourly basis? However, purchasers of professional services are increasingly demanding fixed fee contracts – a model that requires employees to be as efficient as possible with the little time they have. Instead, the workplace of the future will require efficiency in order to keep pace with lower labour costs in developing countries, and respond to the demands of global clients who don’t identify or want to engage with a billable hours model. Long live the efficient worker – however her brain is wired!