Women are more than twice as likely to be shrewd and vigilant about risk than men, according to an analysis of the risk types of over 7,500 individuals by Psychological Consultancy Ltd (PCL). The data, based on a psychological assessment of risk personality, shows that 19% of females were found to be wary compared to 7% of males, while 15% were prudent in contrast to 9% of men.
“Our research suggests that gender plays a major hand in our appetite for risk,” says Geoff Trickey, managing director at PCL. “From an evolutionary point of view this makes perfect sense. It would have been crucial to our survival to have a balance between cautious, more security-conscious types and those with spontaneous tendencies.” He adds, “Our data show that both genders are represented in each risk type but females tend to take the longer-term view.
“Risk-taking is desirable and required in the workplace, but we need a balance to avoid it spiraling out of control, as we witnessed with the global banking crisis. Wary risk types help to counterbalance Adventurous types as they tend to be vigilant, extremely organised and demand high standards.”
The data revealed that 7% of females were classed as adventurous, defined as being impulsive and fearless, compared to 14% of males. Furthermore, 7% were carefree, characterized as spontaneous and unconventional, against 11% of males.
“While our data suggest there are clear gender differences in risk disposition, it’s crucial to remember that not all men are adventurous and not all women are wary,” Trickey adds. “When making decisions about who to bring onto the board or how to develop team members, you need to understand the risk disposition of the person in front of you, not fall back on assumptions.”
The data were taken from individuals who completed the Risk Type Compass personality assessment from more than 20 occupational sectors and over 40 countries globally.
PCL recently hosted a live webinar on Risk: Leadership and Diversity, featuring Trickey and Sue Stockdale, motivational Speaker, executive coach and record-breaking explorer. You can view this webinar here.
Gender breakdown between different risk types from a sample of 7,690 individuals are shown in the table below:
*Individuals who show none of the tendencies sufficiently to characterize them specifically as one Risk Type or another. These are people who fall close to the mean score on both of the underlying measurement scales.