Frankly, most service professions have far too few women. Part of it results from women avoiding the field. But part if it results from few companies making an effort to recruit and develop female technicians. When every service company in the country is crying out for personnel, it's a colossal mistake to overlook half the population. Moreover, it's a missed opportunity.

Women stand out in male dominated fields. Some people will do business with you exclusively just because you employ women in the field.

Men seem to hold three common myths about placing women in the field. All are fallacies.

Myth No. 1: The Job's Too Physically Demanding

There's nothing inherently "male" about any service trade. The physical requirements aren't too demanding. If something's too heavy for a woman to carry alone, then for worker's compensation reasons alone, you should consider it too heavy for a man to carry alone. As a case in point, there are plenty of women holding their own in factory environments. If they can do the same job as a man in the factory, they can do the same job in the field.

Myth No. 2: The Technical Requirements Are Too Great

The mechanical, technical, and analytic requirements aren't an obstacle either. At Decision Analyst, over half of the executives are women. The
majority of the programmers are women. They have women who hold doctorates in math and statistics. Analytically, they're as talented as anyone in the company.

Say what you will. Believe what you want. The plain truth is there's no reason women can't perform every bit as well as men in technically.

Myth No. 3: Women Aren't Tough Enough

Another myth is that women aren't tough enough. Nonsense. Can you think of a leader tougher than former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher? She's certainly tougher than any leader we've elected in the United States in the recent past.

Thatcher's not as exceptional in this regard as you might think. There are women running service companies around the country, every bit as good as men. There are women territory managers working for the manufacturers that hold their own with any group of contractors, no matter how tough they are on the exterior.

Men And Women Aren't The Same
It's true that women and men aren't the same. Thank goodness. In service professions, most women are superior. It's stereotyping, but women as a rule, seem to be more naturally empathetic than men. Women seem to relate better to the customer.

When the Service American franchise was going strong in the air conditioning industry, the technicians most successful in recruiting
customers for service agreement programs (i.e., the best at retaining customers) were women. When I was in the industry, our most highly rated technician, nationwide, was a woman. Customers loved her. One customer saw her pumping gas into her truck, exited the Interstate, looped around on the access road, came back down the other side of the Interstate, and nearly assaulted her in the parking lot. No, this wasn't a mugger or a rapist. It was a new customer who was so impressed with the concept of a woman service technician that she had her follow her to her home to write up a quote for a new air conditioning system. I doubt that would happen for a man, no matter how dashing and debonair he might be.

If you've got an objection to women in the field, get over it. It's a stupid stereotype to hold. It's restricting your potential. Instead, make an active effort to recruit and train women for field service positions.

Matt Michel is president of the Service Roundtable (www.ServiceRoundtable.com), an organization dedicated to helping contractors prosper. Matt is also the publisher of Comanche Marketing, a free marketing e-zine. Subscriptions are available at www.ComancheMarketing.com. You can contact him directly at matt.michel@serviceroundtable.com. Or send your comments to Contracting Business at letters@contractingbusiness.com.