Women are More Likely to Make Friends at Work than Men. Here’s Why that Matters

Daniel A. Cox, Brent Orrell December 16, 2022

Four cartoon black hanging lamps on a blue background, one light bulb is not working.

Deseret News

Despite efforts to close the gender wage gap, the difference between men’s and women’s wages remains a stubborn fixture of modern society. Women still make 83 cents for every dollar men make. Commonly offered explanations include gender discrimination and occupational segregation. One study identified a “care penalty” that disproportionately affects women “when workers in jobs that require higher levels of caregiving earn lower wages than workers with similar skills in jobs that involve less caregiving.”

The gender pay gap is pernicious and affects women from every background, industry and experience level. But a new study from the American Enterprise Institute’s Survey Center on American Life finds that female workers appear to be fostering much deeper and more rewarding social connections at work than their male colleagues. And the research suggests that both workplaces and employees would benefit from investments in relationship building.

The report, “The Social Workplace: Social Capital, Human Dignity, and Work in America,” says that the workplace is an increasingly essential place for social capital development, particularly among college-educated workers. More than half of workers have made a close friend at work or through a partner or spouse’s place of employment.


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