In the past couple of decades, we have made a lot of progress in achieving equality in the workplace. Women are now employed in positions that were traditionally considered a male responsibility, and vice versa.
However, there are still some jobs that stubbornly cling to gender stereotypes, and a receptionist job is near the top of that list. An overwhelming majority of employers that hire receptionists prefer women for this job and consequently, the number of applicants for such positions is predominantly female. This results in fewer qualified men applying, and ultimately being offered a receptionist role.
From a hiring perspective, this creates a kind of catch-22 situation where very few men apply for the role since it is so uncommon. And since it is rare for men to be hired, male applicants choose not to go through the interview process at all. There are several misconceptions that have helped create this situation
Myth 1: It’s a woman’s job
Fact: Men are nurses, full-time parents, interior decorators, fashion designer. Women are pilots, police officers, and head of corporations. The idea of a front desk executive job being the domain of a specific gender is outdated. The person being hired should have the best experience and skills for the job, whether they are male, female or another gender.
Myth 2: Men won’t take the role seriously
Fact: The reality is that good jobs are hard to find, and applicants that make it through a thorough interview process are likely to approach this role with the same level of professionalism. As a hiring manager, it may be easy to think that men won’t treat this job with the importance it deserves. This misconception is rooted in the belief a man can easily get another job or a different profile, but a woman’s options are limited.
Myth 3: Customers respond better to a woman receptionist
Fact: As more and more men start to take on the role of the ‘face’ of the company, customers and vendors are no longer surprised to be greeted by a male voice on the phone. While this may be a myth that is rooted in some truth — studies have shown that people prefer higher-pitched voices when dealing with companies; this usually applies in telephonic situations and that too during the first few seconds of the conversation. In personal interactions, the line is blurred further, since men in front office roles display similar customer-centric focus, and their gender is ceasing to be a factor.
Myth 4: Men don’t have the required skill set
Fact: Today’s corporate environment has less tolerance for these ideas. People-skills are highly valued and often, being able to skillfully manage relationships is preferred rather than being a mere ‘doormat’. This finds root in the thought that women are supposed to be soft, caring and put others need ahead of theirs. Another myth that needs to be put to rest.
Myth 5: Men are better suited for ‘power’ roles
Fact: In this age, people are progressing towards gender equality, where women are heading multinational corporations, becoming presidents and prime ministers; the concept of a male in a ‘power’ role is antiquated. At a primal level, men are supposedly more aggressive than a woman and should, therefore, should not be placed in roles that required finesse and mutual cooperation. However, today’s corporations are not based in the stone age — there is a clearer acceptance than men and women are capable of handling people-centric roles with equal success.
Myth 6: Men are poorly compensated for receptionist jobs:
Fact: Both men and women now get paid for the value addition they provide to the organization. This role is no longer just a simple front office activity. Receptionists are becoming an essential part of companies, especially at start-ups and younger firms. They handle multiple functions beyond the front desk, including office administration visitor management, security, and transport co-ordination etc. These multi-tasking individuals are now paid according to their skills and responsibilities, regardless of their gender.
It’s increasingly apparent that the receptionist job is no longer the exclusive preserve of pretty women. Talented professionals, both men, and women alike are being seriously considered for the skillset they bring to this role, and hiring a male receptionist is no longer an unusual decision.