Study reveals gender differences in business

Study finds clear differences in the motivations and characteristics of men and women business owners

BMO Bank of Montreal has released a study that found clear differences in the motivations and characteristics of men and women business owners, and how they got where they are.

The survey, conducted by Pollara, found that male business owners are more likely than their female counterparts to have gotten into their role by starting their own business (65 per cent vs. 56 per cent), according to the survey of 500 Canadian business owners.

Women, on the other hand, are more likely than men to have become business owners through a promotion (13 per cent for women vs. seven per cent for men) or taking over the family business (21 per cent vs. 15 per cent, respectively).

There were also differences when it came to the key factors for starting a business:

n Doing something they are passionate about: men – 79 per cent, women – 89 per cent

n Being their own boss: men – 78 per cent, women –  78 per cent

n Making money: men –  78 per cent, women – 71 per cent

n The challenge of owning a business:                                   men – 68 per cent, women – 82 per cent

“The survey findings paint an interesting picture of the differences between male and female business owners in Canada,” said Steve Murphy, senior vice-president of commercial banking for BMO Bank of Montreal.

“It’s encouraging to see that both men and woman are highly driven by a passion for their business – which is key to successfully running an organization or business.

“Women seem to be drawn to the challenge more than men. It’s clearly having an impact, with more women opting for self-employment, according to the latest data,” added Murphy.

There were also pronounced differences in the sectors where people operate. Men are more likely to be running businesses in the manufacturing (11 per cent vs. five per cent), construction (11 per cent vs. six per cent), or automotive (six per cent vs. one per cent) sectors, whereas women are more likely to be in retail (14 per cent vs. seven per cent) or hospitality (nine per cent vs. four per cent).