Saturday, 1 June 2013

Myers Briggs and career

I've been looking through my Myers Briggs work for a client and I was thinking about women at work.

There are more STJ (factual, thinking and planning) types who are attracted to MBAs and business according to the research.  However as we develop our vision of what leadership is and have an increasing need to have a variety of types and increased diversity at the top of business, it will be interesting to see if this changes at all over the next 5-10 years.  Also as we as people get older, our preferences also develop, so the intuitive and feeling types will be more attracted to their factual and thinking side and vice versa.  We need rounded people who have a balance of all preferences.

We also need to remember than our personality preferences don't affect our ability to do a job just the way we approach it.  So a feeling type may make decisions just as quickly as a thinking type but they'll do it in a different way.  I can't help but think as it has been suggested by some modern day thinkers that the financial crisis wouldn't have happened if there had been a variety of personality types at the top.  It has been suggested that if there had been more women on the financial boards this would have prevented the financial crisis.

Preliminary research in gender (Macdaid, personal communication) shows that when occupations are "open" to both men and women they are equally distributed.  It has been proven that more women have a feeling type than men but the ratio is just slightly skewed.  So maybe it's how we represent careers to children and how they are taught by personality preferences that we need to think about.

As someone with an NF preference I remember finding maths initially challenging. I then had a wonderfully creative, passionate and supportive maths teacher at Langside College in Glasgow.  He made maths so much fun I ended up getting a top level A in my maths exam.  He appealed to the way I liked to learn.  I ended going on to study a BSc in Ecology.

In engineering for example there is a majority of thinking preference attracted to that career but there are more men than women who prefer thinking.  We need to think in a more rounded way how we attract a variety of people and types to different courses at university as when they go into the job market, there needs to be a variety of ways at looking at the issues.  Diversity is going to be key to innovation.  Innovation comes from thinking around a subject. So we need people who think in different ways to be attracted to different subjects.

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