Why it’s Great to Be the Boss

Why it’s Great to Be the Boss

Why it’s Great to Be the Boss

The FINANCIAL -- America’s bosses are more satisfied with their family life, jobs and overall financial situation than are non-managerial employees, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.


Top managers1 with children also are less likely than other working parents to say parenthood has been an obstacle to job advancement (33% vs. 17%) and more likely to say their current position is their career rather than a just a job to get them by.

Bosses are no more likely than workers to say that society favors men over women (43% for bosses and 46% among workers). Similarly, only 4% of bosses and 9% of workers say women get preferential treatment while similar shares say both are treated equally (44% for bosses and 40% for workers). Bosses and workers also agree that the country needs to make more changes in order to bring gender equality to the workplace (62% and 66%), according to Pew Research Center survey.

The survey asked adults if they would like to someday be a boss or top manager. Among all employed adults, about four-in-ten (39%) say they would while a roughly similar share (43%) say they would not. But 16% of workers surveyed say they already are the boss or a top manager where they work.

Overall about eight-in-ten bosses (83%) describe themselves as “very satisfied” with their family situation. In contrast, about seven-in-ten (74%) of workers are similarly content with their home lives. A larger labor-management gap opens when the subject turns to jobs: 69% of bosses but 48% of workers report they are very satisfied with their current position, according to Pew Research Center survey.

Bosses also are more satisfied than workers when they check their financial bottom line. Four-in-ten top managers say they are very satisfied with their financial situation. In contrast, 28% of workers have such a rosy view. That’s not surprising. According to the survey, about half of all bosses and top managers (54%) have household incomes of $75,000 or more, compared with only about a third (32%) of other employees.

Top managers and non-management employees say they value the same things in a job. At the top of their lists: Work they enjoy doing (39% for bosses and 44% for workers say this is “extremely important” to them). Followed by job security (32% and 36%), and the ability to take time off for child or family care needs (32% vs. 35%).

Both groups also agree what is less important about a j0b. Only about one-in-five bosses (20%) and workers (18%) say a big salary is extremely important while somewhat similar proportions highly value a job that helps society (19% and 23%) and opportunities for advancement (25% and 24%).

In terms of their politics, bosses are more likely to identify with the Republican Party while workers favor the Democrats. According to the poll, about half (53%) of bosses say they are Republican or lean to the GOP compared with 37% of workers. In contrast, 44% of workers but 34% of bosses identify with the Democratic Party, according to Pew Research Center survey.

About four-in-ten bosses (43%) and 37% of workers describe themselves as political conservatives while about a third (34% and 33%, respectively) say they are moderates. Only 17% of bosses and 21% of workers describe themselves as liberals.

About half of top managers (52%) and employees (48%) say it’s easier for a man than a woman to get a top job in government or business. And exactly the same proportion say men generally earn more for doing the same work (54% for both sexes).

A Pew Research Center analysis finds that men are more likely than women to say they are the boss (16% vs. 10%). Whites still dominate in the corporate suite: 16% of all whites are bosses, compared with 6% of blacks and 4% of Hispanics, the survey found. And perhaps predictably, the Millennial generation, recently arrived in the workforce with an abundance of ambition, will have to wait a few more years to break into the executive suite. Only 4% of Millennials say they are bosses, compared with 16% of Gen Xers and 17% of Baby Boomers.

Today’s bosses also are somewhat better educated than other adults. According to the survey, those with college degrees (16%) or some college experience (15%) are most likely to say they are now a boss or top manager. In contrast, only 8% of all high school graduates and those with less education have a top job where they work.