The Paula Principle: how and why women work below their level
In The Paula Principle, Tom Schuller argues that many highly capable women find their skills are under-utilised at work, and that this waste of resources harms businesses and individuals alike. Whereas The Peter Principle, a 4 million-copy US bestseller from the 60s, argued that most (male) workers will inevitably be promoted to one level beyond their competence, Schuller shows how women today face the opposite scenario - that in the workplace they are often functioning below their true potential - and that this trend is becoming more pronounced as women attain higher and higher levels of education without achieving a commensurate rise in their professional status. To make his case, Schuller blends interviews and case studies with statistics and examples drawn from literature. He reflects on how attitudes to education have changed, from the advent of higher education for women in the 19th century to their dominance at all academic stages today. He also looks at how this meteoric trajectory has translated - or failed to translate - into the lived experiences of women as employees, whether they are nursery workers, council employees, journalists or oil company executives. Readable and full of everyday insights into how gender impacts working life, The Paula Principle is a well-reasoned analysis of the obstacles that many women face, and a guide to how we can challenge them on a personal, organisational and societal level. Tom Schuller's thoughtful commentary is required reading for anyone who would like to see the world of work become fairer and more productive, whatever their gender. 'Essential reading for anyone who thinks about the future of work; compelling evidence showing how unions help women and men build alternative working lives; and a powerful argument for radical changes to achieve genuine equality.' - Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress
Tom Schuller is currently an independent social and educational researcher. He has held senior positions in academia and policy bodies, and written or edited around 20 books. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and a visiting professor at the UCL Institute of Education and Birkbeck, both in London.