Mind the Gap – A Close Look at Women in I.T.

As part of our guest blogging series we decided to invite one of our clients, Curo Resourcing, a Microsoft Smart Teaming Partner, to share their view on a much debated topic, i.e. women in I.T. and technology.

When we talk about gender inequalities in the workplace it’s often easy to miss the positive changes that are happening by focusing on some of the negative headlines, such as “..women still need to work harder to be considered equally in the workplace” (Eurostat).

The following statistics from Eurostat support the trend of inequality:

  • The full time gender pay gap is 10% and the average part-time pay gap is 34.5%.
  • Approximately 70% of people receiving a minimum wage are women.
  • Women constitute only 17% of board directors of FTSE 100 companies.
  • 54% of women who work part-time are found to be ‘employed below their potential’.

Of course the view on gender inequality in technology and I.T. is not as straightforward as it sounds – there are still many variables to be considered, such as the proportion of women working and their characteristics differing significantly between EU countries. These differences are mostly due to institutions and attitudes governing the balance between private and work life and individual policy on such things as maternity leave and childcare, which all impact on careers.

There has in-fact been much improvement in the field and the positive changes are happening as we speak. One of these is the fact that “ the number of females obtaining Engineering and Technology degrees increased by 21% between 2008 and 2011” (Eurostat) and we believe this number will only continue to grow.

So should we be concerned about pay inequality and the lack of women in I.T.? It is obvious from the above-mentioned statistics that there are quite a few changes that still need to be made. It seems like an excellent idea to pursue possible strategies which organizations can consider in order to improve gender diversity. Here are some of them.

  • Monitor pay metrics: That is the simple task of measuring the average income of the mix of men and women in your business, at different stages in their career; the % of promotions they are offered and other similar metrics. When it comes to promotion and retention, a business will be assured of equal treatment.
  • Monitor hire metrics: Put the right person in the right job – whether they are male or female, it’s irrelevant! Your business can only win from this.
  • Implement a ‘flexible’ strategy: One of the main struggles for women is the balance between work and family, therefore initiating flexible working hours and childcare benefits are examples of an organization’s tools for addressing a ‘flexible’ strategy. This policy doesn’t mean that women will be given special rights, it’s more about supporting issues which affect entire households when two incomes are required to survive! A lot of organizations are already offering leave for new fathers who choose to stay at home and look after the children.
  • Watch your biases: Every one of us has their own internal bias. Often we might not even be aware of them but they control the way we see, think and evaluate things. Don’t allow a big part of your subconscious to dominate the business that you lead. If more businesses include gender in their selection criteria, the biases will sooner or later disappear.

If you want to extend opportunities for women, make inclusion a key part of your recruitment policy. You may have to restructure some of your current goals to make this possible. You can start by engaging with young women who are studying I.T. before they’ve even left university. Make an effort to connect with those who have the potential to have more than a job in I.T., those who want to have a true career and are studying hard to achieve it. You can also be inspired by female role models in I.T. who are game changers like Maria Klawe, Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer. Make sure your business has heard the names of these successful women!

As a successful I.T. Company, Curo Resourcing believes in women being equal in the workplace; three of the directors are women as well as a large proportion of the team – all professional, talented and managing the work-life balance with aplomb. We look forward to more companies in the I.T. sector embracing women equally.

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