Joanna Murphy, CEO, sitting in front of a white and gold fireplace.
Joanna Murphy, CEO Image: Paul Sherwood

Imposter syndrome more common among women workers, survey suggests

25 Jul 2022

Nearly one-fifth of women surveyed by said they had imposter syndrome all the time, compared to only 11pc of men.

In a new survey, almost half (45pc) of Irish women reported that they have felt like an imposter at some point during their career. More than one-third (37pc) of men said they felt the same.

Imposter syndrome refers to feelings of inadequacy and is characterised by anxieties and doubt about one’s accomplishments. It was first identified in the 1970s by psychologists Dr Suzanne Imes and Dr Pauline Clance.

Often accompanied by a fear of being exposed as a fraud, it can be a problem for a lot of workers and causes people to miss out on promotions or other opportunities they don’t feel confident enough to tackle.

In a survey of 1,200 professionals in Ireland, found that the overall proportion of people who had suffered from imposter syndrome during their careers was 42pc. Pre-pandemic, this figure stood at 38pc.

Nearly one-fifth (17pc) of women said they had imposter syndrome all the time, compared to only 11pc of men.

The majority of respondents said they had never experienced imposter syndrome while at work, with 63pc of men and 55pc of women reporting they were not affected.

A quarter of men and 28pc of women said they had been affected in the past.

“The greater propensity amongst women to experiencing imposter syndrome could well be reflective of a broader societal issue, whereby men are often encouraged to have a go and take chance, whereas women are often more likely to stay within certain parameters,” said Joanna Murphy, CEO of

“The industry a person works in could also attribute to this, with many being traditionally very male dominated.”

Murphy added that just because the majority of people surveyed said they never experienced imposter syndrome, it does not mean employers should not be concerned.

“As employers we should be asking ourselves why any of our people might feel like this and what the organisation might to do allay their anxieties and to give people the confidence and belief in themselves they need and deserve,” she concluded.

Last month, heard from Joblist CEO Kevin Harrington about how to deal with imposter syndrome when searching for a job.

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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