It’s 2018, and, unfortunately, women are still subjected to biases and obstacles related to their gender.
This even happens in the job search. An October 2017 Fairygodboss survey looked at how hiring managers perceive females based on photographs. They focused on weight, demeanor, age, and race — and the findings are startling.
For example, 20 percent of hiring professionals describe the heaviest-looking woman as ‘lazy.’ Only 15.6 percent said they would consider hiring her. What’s more, only 15 percent of hiring professionals would consider hiring a woman who was frowning.
In other words, hiring managers have a lot of preconceived notions about female candidates from the get-go. But these prejudices can impact you at any time throughout your medical sales career.
In fact, gender bias continues to have a negative impact on the entire medical sales industry. Our 2018 8th Annual Medical Sales Salary Report found that women make up just 15 percent of the highest paying jobs — manager, director, or VP. Plus, women earn just 81 percent of the income reported by men.
Unfortunately, gender bias continues to be part of the female employee experience. From job search to retirement, you’re bound to be subjected to this.
However, no matter where you are in your medical sales career, you can still overcome this bias and find success:
Present the Facts
Numbers don’t lie. This expression carries a lot of truth, especially when it comes to your career. People can accuse you of being inefficient or having a bad work ethic, but ultimately, your measured performance speaks the loudest.
No matter the context, you can keep the focus on your performance. This way, gender, age, or other unimportant aspects aren’t brought up.
But, highlighting your relevant successes requires preparation.
First, look at the situation you face. If you’re interviewing for a biotech sales manager position, share your knowledge of biotech products with your potential employer.
You can also touch upon your previous successes in medical sales by showing them your performance data. For example, demonstrate that you had the highest employee satisfaction and client engagement rates on your whole team in your previous position.
You can share your expertise and successes through a strong online presence, as well. This way, you already establish your credibility before meeting in person.
Showcase Leadership Skills
Great leaders are not great because of their gender. They’re successful because they have the skills and capabilities to effectively lead a team. Remember this, especially when you feel stuck in your medical sales career.
Don’t let the fact that there are so few females leaders in the industry derail your ambitions of climbing the ladder.
But be prepared for the double standards and the inevitable resistance you will face. A common issue females encounter, unfortunately, is that they’re perceived differently than men in leadership roles. They’re often held to a higher standard. And when female leaders are assertive, many people perceive them as ‘cold’ and ‘bossy.’
It’s best to ignore the double standards and resistance from others. Instead, stay focused on proving yourself as a capable, strong leader.
Seek out collaborative assignments that include a team lead or supervisory role. This gives you a chance to showcase your delegation abilities and project management skills.
Also, look for ways to create your own leadership opportunities. For instance, when you see new hires join your team, ask your management team if you could train them. This shows you’re enthusiastic about your role in medical sales, and you also want to educate others.
One of the most sought-after leadership traits is grit — your ability persevere through obstacles and achieve your goals. You can learn how to develop your grit by studying the success of other glass ceiling breakers and following in their footsteps.
Build a Supportive Network
The entrepreneur Jim Rohn said it perfectly.
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
Your network doesn’t just serve the purpose of providing you with potential job referrals. It actually molds you as a professional, to your advantage or your detriment.
If you’re spending time with naysayers and downers, you’re likely to adopt that mentality. This is why you should find successful females in medical sales with whom you want to connect.
Research who you want to know in your medical sales niche. Then, reach out, either through LinkedIn or in person, and start building meaningful relationships with them.
This puts you in a position to learn more from them. But it also eases the intimidation you may experience as a female in a biased world. Your supportive network is there for you when you fail and experience a major setback.
They’re also there to applaud your successes and give you the boost of confidence you need from time to time.
In your current position, start an employee resource group with your female colleagues. This way, you create a supportive space within your company where women from all levels learn from each other.
How did you overcome gender bias in your career? Share in the comments!