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Should managers consider new diversity policies protecting men?

Posting in Education

The current recession appears to be affecting employment among men more disproportionately than women, according to the Economix blog published by The...

The current recession appears to be affecting employment among men more disproportionately than women, according to the Economix blog published by The New York Times.

Because many of the layoffs in the current recession have been centered on industries such as manufacturing and construction, traditional male strongholds, men have been harder hit by job cuts. I don't have to source this data, because it is pretty obvious in the latest nonfarm payroll data. Meanwhile, education and healthcare have fared relatively well, a factor that has served to prop up the number of women in the workforce when compared with men.

No brainer.

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of June 2009, women held 49.83 percent of all nonfarm payroll positions, while men held 50.17 percent.

Does this mean that we should all worry about embracing policies and management styles that are more suited to motivated females than males. Yes, there is a difference in how males and females react to management techniques, just as there is a difference in the way that men and women manage as discussed in this blog entry from a few days ago.

Before you go retooling your entire management philosophy, consider that history may be repeating itself. Apparently, the last recession in 2001 brought a similar disparity in terms of job cuts.

Still I would be willing to bet that the Obama administration's prioritization of healthcare as a major national priority will prompt many of the people let go in the current wave of layoffs to rethink their careers entirely. Who knows, soon women in healthcare may find themselves facing the same dilemma once faced by white males: hiring policies intended to encourage ethnic and gender diversity.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure