From Glass Escalator to Glass Travelator: On the Proportion of Men in Managerial Positions in Social Work in Sweden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The proportion of men at senior management level in social work in Sweden, especially in social services, is explored based on three sources: questionnaires to all men who graduated in social work at Lund University, Sweden 1980–85 and 1993–2003, qualitative interviews with male social workers and secondary statistics on leadership in municipalities. The questionnaires revealed that the 1980s group were managers to a greater extent than the 1990s group. This finding is consistent with official statistics that show an essential decrease in the proportion of men in senior management in social services. Three reasons for this are found. First, the interviewees emerge as the new man to whom family is more important than gainful employment and work content more important than income. Second, due to new management working conditions for managers have deteriorated. The third reason is new kinds of careers. Instead of a vertical career male social workers can choose a horizontal career and thereby increase their professionalism.


  • Karin Kullberg
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Work


  • Career gender management organisations professionalisation social workers
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1492-1509
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch