An examination of the evidence that women tend to work below their level of competenceby Jessica Abrahams / February 14, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in March 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
The Paula Principle by Tom Schuller (Scribe, £14.99)
“Every employee tends to rise to the level of his incompetence.” So runs the wisdom of The Peter Principle, the 1969 sensation that suggested that workers are promoted through the ranks of organisations until they reach a level beyond their ability.
In The Paula Principle, Tom Schuller examines the evidence that women tend to work below their level of competence: in most developed countries, women outperform men at all levels of education—including university, in-work training and skills development—yet this does not translate into greater professional advancement. For Schuller, this indicates a problem “in the way we reward competence”—an obstacle to equality as well as a waste of human capital.
Literature on women at work has become a crowded marketplace over the past few years. Though Schuller’s analysis is careful and nuanced, much of it covers old ground—and not always as engagingly as the issue has been covered before.