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60% of working women in Japan give bosses failing grade in job website survey

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TOKYO -- Some 60% of working women see their current manager as "failing" in their role, according to a survey about workers' bosses by a job-hunting site for women.

    Among the other results, 80% of women reported that a member of management was behind them either considering or deciding to change jobs. The responses reveal that many working women feel their managers, who have a great influence over the shape of their subordinates' careers, are falling short in one way or another.

    The survey took place online from Aug. 2 to 18, and was aimed at members of Career Design Center Co.'s "Onna no tenshoku type" website. Valid responses were received from 818 people. The pass-mark for a manager was set at 70 points, and respondents were asked what score they would give their current boss. Scores between 50 and 69 points were the most common, submitted by 31.2% of respondents. Including scores lower than that bracket, 61.9% of women who took the survey gave their manager a failing grade of 69 points or below. The average awarded score was just 54.2 points.

    The most frequently cited reason for dissatisfaction with a superior was "incompetence in training subordinates, low instruction capability," accounting for 37%. "Vague work instructions and goal-setting" was picked in 33.1% of responses, while 30.4% said "they don't protect us when things get tough."

    Kayoko Kobayashi, editor-in-chief at job-hunting website Onna no tenshoku type, is seen in this image provided by Career Design Center Co.

    A woman in her 30s working in service and sales wrote, "When they're in a bad mood, they get angry regardless of our sales performance." Others wrote, "They push their view on you without listening fully to what you have to say," and, "If they're in front of their boss then the things they say change."

    Additionally, 39.7% of women reported actually changing jobs, citing their supervisor as the cause. When responses saying that people "looked for another job" or "thought about changing work" are included, the proportion who have changed work or looked into it because of a manager rises to 83.3%.

    When asked what about their bosses they respected, 38.6% said their "knowledge of the job, their many skills." The next-most cited quality was that they "listen to the views and opinions of their subordinates," which was chosen in 26.5% of responses. A woman in her 20s working in sales wrote, "My boss is a woman, so she deeply understands issues regarding periods." A woman in her 30s performing administrative and accountancy duties said, "My manager is a man with a family, and he understands issues relating to women's bodies and physical health."

    However, 25.2% of respondents said there was nothing they can respect about their managers, revealing that a quarter of women at work have a very critical view of their superiors.

    Kayoko Kobayashi, editor-in-chief at Onna no tenshoku type, said of the survey, "That 60% of managers were given a failing grade by their subordinates was a harsher result than I had imagined." When the company surveyed why people want to change jobs in February, it found that "personal relationships" were the third-most cited reason. Combined with the latest survey results, she sees that "many women are dissatisfied with and troubled by their managers."

    A May survey found that half of female respondents felt they had been impacted by the workplace gender gap in their job. Kobayashi said, "It seems there are still few managers who sufficiently understand the difficulties in living that are specific to women."

    The survey results this time saw particularly high volumes of answers putting their dissatisfaction with their bosses down to "incompetence in training subordinates, low instruction capability," and, "Vague work instructions and goal-setting." Kobayashi commented, "What's sought in a superior doesn't seem to be high capability in executing their job, but perhaps management skills."

    (Japanese original by Maki Nakajima, Digital News Center)

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