2016 MHRM report

Trends in job satisfaction and other key HR indicators 2015-2017



There are 4 key variables monitored by the MHRM Project over time. These are general job satisfaction, perceived fairness of compensation and benefits, job stress, and intent to stay at organizations.  All 4 variables are measured along a 5-point Likert scale ranged from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest). For the definition of the concepts used in this report, as well as details of the methodology employed and a profile of the study's respondent characteristics, please visit here.


General trends


Compared to previous years, all four HR indicators recorded their highest ratings in 2015.  After then all indicators went in a less than desired direction.  Employees' Perceived Fairness of Compensation and Benefit dropped to below 3.4 in 2016 and 2017, while Intent to Stay decreased to just above 3.1 in the same period.  General Job Satisfaction decreased to 3.47 and 3.39 in these 2 years. Job Stress, which is measured in opposite scale, troughed in 2015 (score 2.72) and then rose in 2016 and 2017 to 2.88 and 2.99.

Overall scenario shows that employees in Macao's labour force show a slightly worried situation: Employees feel less satisfied with their jobs, more stressed, feel less fairly paid, and have lower intent to stay at their organisations.

Trends by industry


Focusing on the years 2015 and 2017 and viewing the 4 HR indicators across different industries, alarming similarities can be found among them.  All industries scored lower in Job Satisfaction rating in 2017.  At the same time, all but finance sectors scored a higher Job Stress score while all but F&B sectors recorded a lower intent-to-stay score

Perceived Fairness of Compensation and Benefit score was less monotonic, compared with the other 3 indicators.  Still the majority of sectors recorded a lower score in 2017, but among them finance, retail and wholesale and travel agencies are the few exceptions found themselves with a higher score in 2017.

Trends by personal monthly income


Considering these 4 HR indicators relative to different levels of respondents’ personal monthly income, the highest income group (i.e., those with income more than $40,000) showed higher level of Job Satisfaction, Intent to Stay and Perceived Fairness of Compensation and Benefit than the other income groups.  In Job Stress category, in 2017 there is no significant difference among all income groups, with score ranged narrowly between 2.91 and 3.03.

Trends by job position


Similar to previous findings, the graphs show that in 2017 the higher an employee is in job position, the higher the rating in all but Job Stress indicators.  But actually in this year, Job Stress scores are not significantly different among various job level.  This may further deepen the desperate situation of those who are not at top level.

Trends by work arrangement


Compared with 2015, as a general trend in 2017, employees record a higher level of job stress, but lower level of job satisfaction, loyalty and perceived level of C&B, regardless of job arrangement.  Although both groups suffered a drop in score, those work in shift shows a relatively mild change than those in fixed shifts.

Trends by educational attainment


Examining the 4 HR indicators by employees' level of educational attainment, compared with 2015, in 2017 candidates of different educational level largely suffered a worse result, except the doctoral employees in the Perceived Fairness of Compensation and Benefit, and the Intent to Stay score of employees received vocational education.

Trends by residence status


Compared between 2015 & 2017, scores in 4 indicators fared differently.  Job satisfaction and loyalty suffered significant drop in all residential status.  At the same time, local employees think that they are not as fairly paid as before, while non-permanent employees experience lower stress level.

Trends by marital status


Compared with findings in 2015, generally in 2017 employees think they are less fairly paid, have lower level of job satisfaction and loyalty, and higher level of stress, no matter they are single or married.

Trends by presence of children


Even more significantly than the previous exhibits, whether employees have children or not, they tend to have worse experience in all 4 indicators in 2017 than 2015.

Trends by gender


More or less the same as the presence of children finding, employees tend to experience less pleasant fare in 2017 than 2015, no matter male or female.



Generally speaking, group felt relatively happier (higher C&B, job satisfaction and loyalty, and lower job stress score) in 2017 is those:

  • who work in the finance & F&B sector
  • with higher monthly income levels
  • who occupy top positions at their organizations
  • who are not local residents
  • married with children.


In contrast, employees who are less than happy include those:

  • working in gaming and construction sector,
  • working at entrance job level with middle pay ($20,000 to $30,000), and
  • working on rotational shift


Employers may want to understand their situation in order to improve their psycho-social status and so that companies can retain as many of their talents as possible.



Overall perceptions towards women as managers

To examine how employees perceive women as managers, the present study employed the Women as Managers Scale (WAMS) (Terborg et al. 1977). Specifically, the WAMS is intended to measure stereotypic attitudes toward women as managers. The scale consists of 11 positively worded items (e.g. “Women have the capability to acquire the necessary skills to be successful managers.”; “Problems associated with menstruation should not make women less desirable than men as employees.”; “Society should regard work by female managers as valuable as work by male managers.”.) and 10 negatively worded items (e.g. “It is less desirable for women than men to have a job that requires responsibility.”; “Women are less capable of learning mathematical and mechanical skills than are Men”; “Women are not competitive enough to be successful in the business world”). Participants indicated the degree to which they agreed or disagreed with each item from 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 7 (Strongly Agree). The total score on the WAMS is obtained by the mean of all positive responses and reversed negative responses. Higher values indicate a greater degree of perception of control.


1. Overall perceptions towards women as managers (WAMS)

Employees perception toward women as managers (WAMS) in Macao, seems to be slightly above the midpoint of scale (M=4.79, SD=0.723). Yet, when compared to values obtained in other countries (Javalgi et al. 2011; Sincoff et al. 2009), this is still low. It suggests that there are still a strong stereotypical views of gender roles in the workplace.

Fig 1.JPG


2. WAMS across different industry sectors


Across different industry sectors, it is evident from the results that employees working in male oriented occupations (e.g. electricity, gas and water supply; Real estate, Food & beverage) tend to view women in the more traditional sense, with more stereotypical views than those working in female oriented occupations (e.g. MICE, Leisure and entertainment, Public administration and social security).


3. Job Characteristics and WAMS


Some job related characteristics were found to be related to the perceptions of women as managers. Neither salary, nor job level are related to perceptions towards women as managers. That is, high and lower earners, tend to have similar perceptions towards women as managers. The same holds true for those occupying different job levels.


3.1 Number of service years


However, the number of service years in current position and current company is negatively associated with perceptions towards women as managers (r= -.124, p <  .05 and r= -.144, p <  .05).


4. Personal characteristics and WAMS


Many of the personal characteristics are found to be related to the perceptions of women as managers.



4.1 Gender differences


An independent-samples t-test was run to determine if there were differences in attitudes towards women managers (WAMS) between males and females. Female employees showed higher WAMS score (M=4.89, SD=0.66) than male employees (M=4.51, SD=0.57), a statistically significant difference, M = 0.38, 95% CI [0.30, 0.47], t(852) = 8.82, p < .001.

Specifically, There are marked differences between genders on how they view women as managers. Compared to women, men still hold less positive view of female as managers.


4.2 Age


Younger employees tend to be more receptive of women as managers, than older employees. Based on the results, employees’ age is negatively associated with perceptions towards women as managers (r= -.124, p <  .05).


4.3 Education


Those with higher education, tend to have more positive views of women as managers.


5. Effects of WAMS on employees


Workers that shows more positive perceptions towards women as managers, they tend to show a lower preference to work with a male manager (r= -.118, p <  .05). And when they work for a female manager, their intent to stay tend to be the highest. In fact, when the manager is male, gender preferences does not greatly influence intent to stay. However, as for female managers, when their subordinates gender preference does not correspond, it affects intent to stay greatly. This suggests that there are still skeptical views of women as managers and it may have negative impacts at the workplace.


6. Other factors related to WAMS


Amongst other factors related to WAMS (general job satisfaction, Perceived C&B Fairness and Job stress), only job stress was found to be negatively correlated. That is, employees with more positive views of women as managers tend to suffer less occupational stress.

Table 1.JPG


7. Conclusion & Implications:


  1. Although attitudes toward women managers in Macao are somewhat positive, it is important to recognize that this is still far below from other countries e.g. US. Thus, expatriates working in Macao, must recognize and reconciliate with this. 
  2. Increased salary, higher positions, accumulated number of years of work experience, none of these job-related characteristics seems to influence gender stereotypical views of women managers, and when it does, it does so only to a minor extent. Instead, personal characteristics, such as gender, age, education, seems to be closely related to these gender stereotypical views and is explained by the fact that it is culturally, historically, and socially rooted. 
  3. Negative attitudes towards women as managers, can affect intent to stay, and managers should be especially aware of situations where the manager is female. Because for female managers, when their subordinates gender preference does not correspond, it affects intent to stay. Thus, when establishing gender diversity in the workforce, caution should be exercised, as it may backfire.
  4. Finally, it is important to create a greater awareness of gender diversity in the labour workforce, through training and seminars. 


Analysis in this special focus report is based on data collected in June 2017 via both field and online survey (n=856). For further information regarding the MHRM project, methodology employed and a profile of the study's respondent characteristics, please visit here.


8. Publication bibliography


Javalgi, Rajshekhar G.; Scherer, Robert; Sánchez, Carol; Pradenas Rojas, Lorena; Parada Daza, Víctor; Hwang, Chi‐en; Yan, Wu (2011): A comparative analysis of the attitudes toward women managers in China, Chile, and the USA. In Int Journal of Emerging Mkts 6 (3), pp. 233–253. DOI: 10.1108/17468801111144067.


Sincoff, Michael Z.; Owen, Crystal L.; Coleman, Joseph W. (2009): Women as Managers in the United States and China. A Cross-Cultural Study. In Journal of Asia-Pacific Business 10 (1), pp. 65–79. DOI: 10.1080/10599230802711555.


Terborg, J. R.; Peters, L. H.; Ilgen, D. R.; Smith, F. (1977): Organizational and Personal Correlates of Attitudes Toward Women as Managers. In Academy of Management Journal 20 (1), pp. 89–100. DOI: 10.2307/255464.












Does gender bias exist in Macao’s organizations and does it affect our work?

How common are supervisors managing subordinates of the opposite sex? How does supervisor gender influence subordinates’ job attitudes? Are there natural advantages for managers supervising subordinates of the same sex—or the opposite sex? This online report presents findings of a study that examined gender congruence affecting the workplace and opens up avenues for discussion among managers and employees.


A.   Who do you report to at your company?


Other things held constant, the chances that a typical employee reports to a supervisor of the opposite sex is 50/50. This shows that managers supervising subordinates of the opposite sex has become a fact of organizational life that cannot be ignored.



B.   Supervisor gender by industry type


Employees reporting to male supervisors are still commonplace in traditionally male-dominated industries namely Construction and Electricity, gas, and water supply. The same is also true in the sector of MICE and Cultural, arts and creative business. In each of these industries that we mentioned, there were at least three times many more employees who indicated that their supervisor was male. On the other hand, reporting to female supervisors has become more common in Retails, Education, and Hotels and resorts.



C.   Supervisor gender across management level


In this study we found that supervisory duties were shared fairly equally across gender for entry-level and mid-level positions. However, it was less common to see women taking the lead at the top of the hierarchy.



D.   The influence of supervisor gender on employees’ job attitudes


D.1. Job stress


Employees of both genders agreed that it was more stressful working under female supervisors. Male workers’ stress level was even higher than their female counterparts in this regard.



D.2. Treatment and recognition


Employees of both genders opined that male supervisors were able to foster workplace fairness by treating them all equally. Female supervisors, however, received less favorable evaluation from their male subordinates even though they were rated much more favorably by their female subordinates. This finding suggests that male subordinates generally feel unfairly treated or less recognized when working under a female boss. In contrast, female subordinates feel significantly better treated and recognized under a female boss. This further suggests that it remains a lingering challenge for female managers/ supervisors to be seen by their male subordinates as recognizing and treating everyone equally and fairly.



D.3. Job satisfaction and intent to stay


Interestingly, supervisor gender seemed to play a role in affecting employees’ job satisfaction. When reporting to male supervisors, male workers exhibited a relatively higher level of job satisfaction than their female counterparts. With female supervisors, however, male workers showed a steep drop in job satisfaction meanwhile that of female workers mildly increased.



Perhaps this explains why male workers expressed much stronger desire to stay with the organization when their supervisor was male (see Figure 7). The same was also true for female workers working under female supervisors.



Taken together, it seems to suggest that employee-supervisor gender congruence (i.e., that supervisor and subordinate are of the same gender) somehow influences workers’ level of commitment and their willingness to remain employed (Hewitt, 2004).



E.   Employee-supervisor gender congruence effect 


The hypothesis that employee-supervisor gender congruence influences employees’ job attitudes has gained further support when we detected employees showing a higher level of intent-to-stay when being managed by supervisors of the same gender. In the case where employees were supervised by someone of the opposite sex, their intention to stay weakened.


Likewise, under the same-gender pairing scenario, we noticed that employees had expressed relatively higher levels of job satisfaction in terms of job pay, job security, work environment, and treatment and recognition. 




F.   Conclusion


  • This study detected varying degrees of gender bias among Macao’s labor force. Employees’ job attitudes were found to change in relation to their supervisor’s gender. More precisely, employees seemed to prefer having a supervisor of the same gender rather than being supervised by someone of the opposite sex.
  • In this regard, when employee-supervisor genders are congruence (i.e., the same), employees expressed more willingness to stay with the employer and they were also more satisfied in their jobs.
  • The findings pertaining to this study is only indicative and more studies confirming these results are needed before they are generalized to the wider population. Nevertheless, this study reveals that gender-related issues are a relevant issue in Macao’s organizations and should be addressed. The results of this study open up avenues for managers and employees to share their thoughts and ideas in order to make their organizations a gender-friendly place to work for.


Analysis in this special focus report is based on data collected in June 2017 via both field and online survey (n=856). For further information regarding the MHRM project, methodology employed and a profile of the study's respondent characteristics, please visit here.