Surprise! Men Are Better Networkers

Jun 22, 2011
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Men are better online networkers than women? True, says LinkedIn.

It may fly in the face of other surveys, but LinkedIn insists that men are savvier networkers when it comes to their participation on the global business networking site and when their number of connections are taken into account.

“Women,” explains Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s Connection Director, “can sometimes shy away from networking because they associate it with schmoozing or doling out business cards, when in reality, it’s about building relationships before you actually need them.”

Well now, just a couple weeks ago ComScore said women in five of the biggest European countries — France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom — spent more time on social networks than men. And it didn’t matter if they were 15 or 50. In every age grouping the women were ahead.

See what I did there? I compared ComScore’s time online in Europe to LinkedIn’s global counts of men, women, and their total connections. Different measures.

Getting closer to an oranges-to-oranges comparison, Rapleaf, a data analysis firm, found that women had more friends and deeper relationships than did men on social sites. The study came out in 2008, so its findings are dated, but more recent reports tend to confirm them.

Pew just released a report on who uses social media, which found that 56 percent are female, a gain of three points since 2008. On Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace women are more plentiful by far than men.

But, when it comes to networking on LinkedIn, men are way ahead of women; 63 percent participation by men vs. 37 percent for women, says Pew, which did the counting last fall.

With that kind of discrepancy, it’s no wonder that LinkedIn’s own data showed men to be the savvier business networkers. That holds true even in areas where women might be expected to dominate.

Take the cosmetics industry. LinkedIn found even though women outnumber men, it’s the men who are the savvier networkers.  Mary Kay — yes indeed, the cosmetics company with the pink everything branding — is a “very male savvy company,” LinkedIn reports.

HR, a female-dominated occupation, is another male networking surprise. In the U.S. and in Australia, France, Germany, India, New Zealand, Spain, and the U.K., men were found to be the savvier networkers.

On the other hand, in the tobacco industry, it’s just the other way around. Women are the better networkers.

LinkedIn speculates the minority sex has to network harder than the dominant sex to break into those industries.

Overall, concludes LinkedIn, “Globally and in the U.S. men are savvier online professional networkers than women.”

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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