It’s a riff from a Rolling Stones song from the boom era, but according to a December 19th release by The Conference Board of Canada – young women ‘Can’t get no Satisfaction.’ And organizations need to change to accommodate those feelings of frustration according to the Conference Board report. Further, “Organizations need to implement objective and transparent talent management practices that guard against unconscious bias.”

What a hot potato subject. Canada’s largest independent think tank, claims that “Women who are in the first years of their careers have fewer opportunities to be mentored, coached, take on job-rotation assignments, gain line management experience, or access professional development training. Nevertheless, they are more likely to take part in these opportunities when made available to them.” Fewer opportunities than who? Young men? So the Pavlovian response would be – it’s not fair, it’s not random. In a  number of coin tosses you’d expect the outcomes to be equal. To prove it, I flipped a two dollar coin ten times – result, 80% Queen and 20% Polar bear. Thus, maybe the featured image above should be a Queen and polar bears rather than Mr and Mrs Potato head. Somebody is a victim of a system that isn’t fair, and the coin toss proves it!

I have an uneasy feeling that men are going to blamed for this ‘problem’ of unfairness, after-all we likely made the coin… Some how along our oblivious way, men have caused it – because we’ve made it. All car accidents are men’s fault. I’m not saying that sarcasm is the answer, because it should be taken seriously. What if it’s the ‘invisible hand of the market’ to paraphrase Adam Smith. Everybody knows the market’s not fair. The market is opportunistic, ruthless and selfish, if not fraudulent, not much fairness there, nor seemingly in my $2 coin.

We live in a litigious society, and one that wants to lay blame. We know it because headlines tell us so. “Canadian gender pay gaps: who is to blame?”  What’s the problem?…Maybe we need to ask different questions. Or sue for peace, although that has never been a more unpopular phrase than now.

In the same think tank report, it is thoughtfully worded that undervaluing young women is – unintentional. “Canadian organizations are—unintentionally—underestimating young women as being too young, […]” There is no shortage of things to disagree about how corporations are operated, but disagreeing with an organizational strategy and calling it gender bias seems suspect. And admittedly a clever tactic. Philosophical bias, sure. Economic bias, why not. Call it the A team and the B team. Call it growth and stability.

I’d think that corporations are such finely tuned ‘Formula 1 style’ money-making machines that the situation is just as they want it to be in the organization world, aside from getting more from employees for less… So if women are making less, that benefits the corporation in terms of human capital. Perhaps it’s not so much a gender issue but a capital one? And why not? Let the market decide, arguably not very democratic. Many people are making less money than the generation before. Fox news had reported in late November that people today tend to work about a month more per year than 30 years ago. It wasn’t even part of their main story it was just mentioned as a segue into the principle focus about consumer spending being down. Is working more for less fair? The result of a biased philosophy? A fact of life we want to change, but can’t?

The think tank pointed out that 55% of young ladies are contented and about 18% are indifferent, and 27% – ‘Can’t get no satisfaction.’ As it turns out over 70% are just fine. But don’t call it fair… It’s interesting that Steve Jobs claimed that the difference between the A team and the B team is about 30%.

Bias has become a very salient word since the 1920’s. It is an attractive word, at an all time high in English language usage. The participants in the survey expressed a view that they were denied a chance to meaningfully contribute to the organization, and assumedly by extension, to society. As a result, such denial erodes self-confidence and career expectations, and more young women were pessimistic (18%) about reaching their desired job levels than men (11%). It may also mean that young men were more realistic by 7% about what to expect in life – maybe after a year or two in the corporate world they were ‘coming out of the either’ so-to-speak. Admittedly, a cynical proposition, but it can’t all be – lollipops and candy-canes. Often we are marketed dreams that do not live up to our expectations. It is unrealistic expectations that lead to disappointment and hurt feelings.

Humans look to the tallest mountain to climb – the furthest star, and that’s what gets celebrated. If we think our meal is going to be a 9 out of 10, and it’s only a 7 then by definition we’d feel disappointed. I’m sure Icarus was very disappointed when he got too close to the sun, an unconscious bias…perhaps that would have been a more pertinent featured image?