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Women: More Honest and Hardworking?

What's the workplace really like? A new survey claims women are working their tails off... and men are more likely to play hooky.
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According to a survey of 5,000 U.S. employees performed by theFIt.com, 54% of women report working nine or more hours a day, compared to 41% of men.

And, at least in one aspect, women are more honest than men: One in five men report lying when it came to their most recent sick day, while only one in seven women say they were taking a "mental health" day, interviewing for another job... or just playing hooky.

But there is good news for business owners: 84% of all employees say they were actually sick or caring for a sick child the last time they called in sick. (Here's the complete workplace culture infographic.)

TheFit was developed by Bullhorn, a recruiting software firm whose Web-based products like Reach and Marketplace are used by over 45,000 recruiters in 35 counties to handle over 150,000 job orders and placements every month. TheFit is a career site that asks questions designed to reveal what a workplace is really like.

"It's not about digging up dirt," says Art Papas, CEO of theFit. "The survey questions are designed to let people give honest responses without getting into trouble with their boss or bashing the company. We help bosses get to know their employees through lighthearted 'would you rather...' questions."

Some of the results are interesting if not surprising (at least to me.) Tech companies like Google and Microsoft—generally known for their hard-driving corporate cultures—rank relatively high for family friendliness.

Bank of America ranks high on female leadership: 62% of the respondents from BofA say their boss is a woman, compared to the overall average of 36% across all companies. (So much for that stereotype.)

And while 52% of respondents say their boss would never take credit for one of their ideas, 71% of the respondents from IBM say it does happen, whether intentional or not.

What's no surprise is that employees whose bosses have taken credit for their ideas are 3.5 times more likely to be dissatisfied with their jobs.

Currently theFit ranks companies in 12 major metropolitan areas, but anyone in the U.S. can sign up, answer survey questions, and view the results for their company.

"Job descriptions and websites only touch the very edge of a company's true culture," Papas says. "If you're a job seeker the survey results can help you decide whether a company is a good fit for you. If you own a business it's another way to find out what your employees really think. For example, I found out that 25% of Bullhorn employees would rather receive more vacation days than a promotion."

And as for those honest, hardworking female employees who, as it turns out, are also more likely than men to do some work while on vacation? It may surprise you to learn they perceive their compensation more positively than men.

Twenty-six percent of men said "their friends would feel bad for them if they knew how much they made," compared to only 17% of women—even though only 47% of women reported receiving a bonus last year, compared to 55% of men.

Last updated: Apr 5, 2012

JEFF HADEN | Columnist

Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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