I was reading some of my mail this morning as I was wondering what to write about today. One newsletter I get is The Keen Thinker, written by the folks at 800CEOread. (This is a resource I highly recommend. They give you the scoop on all the business books being produced today. I get there Keen Thinker newsletter, their daily blog, and the weekly In Bubble Wrap which gives books away. I have gotten two in the past.) In this most recent issue of The Keen Thinker Carol Grossmeyer, owner of 800-CEO-READ, reviews and recommends The Female Vision by Sally Helgesen & Julie Johnson.
In her review Ms. Grossmeyer writes “Sally Helgesen, bestselling author of The Female Advantage, and Julie Johnson, a pioneer in executive coaching, have written a book that explains the difference in how men and women approach the business world.” She further says “Through research, well-documented studies and personal experience stories, Helgesen and Johnson explain in The Female Vision what women “notice,” how they value what they “see,” and how that vision can be a powerful tool at all levels of the business world. But because, for the most part, business schools teach a singular “male” vision (“women’s attention operates like a radar, picking up signals across a wide spectrum, whereas men’s attention operates like a laser, focusing on a single point in depth”), the traditional workplace is not structured to recognize women’s, often more subjective, observations.”
Ms. Grossmeyer quotes several sections of the book that talk about “The lack of attention to and lack of respect for women’s ways of seeing, their holistic approach to motivation, and their perception of worth and satisfaction has put our marketplace—and culture in general— at a grave disadvantage.”
One quote that caught my eye in particular is “The value women place on relationships has increasing marketplace value. Changes in the nature of technology have made relationships—with customers, clients, suppliers, competitors, shareholders, and the community as well as within the organization itself—a far more vital resource for organizations than in years past.”
Reading this got me to thinking about the field of Human Resources. It is no secret that in the past few decades that the field has become female dominated. You only have to go to a conference to see that. (Anyone have the figures for male vs. female attendance in San Diego?) My own observation from teaching the PHR/SPHR prep classes over the past 13 years shows that attendance in those classes has been at least 80% female. If you read HR blogs a large number are written by women. (PunkRockHR, The HR Minion, The HR Bartender, Profitability Through Human Capital, the HR Ringleader just to name a few.) There are some notable men, Kris Dunn, Lance Haun and Mike Vandervort, that come to mind. But many of the men are in specialties that might be considered “male” such as labor, technology and recruiting (finding prey?).
So given that and the increasing marketplace value of women’s view of relationships I ask myself am I a member of a dying breed, a male in HR? Is the time of Men in HR past?
What do you think? Are men in HR going extinct? And why?
(By the way if you are interested in the book The Female Vision you can get it through 800CEORead here or at Amazon The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work. I will be putting it on my reading list. )