Power of networking

I recently wrote a guest blog for Vitae on the power of networking; you may want to read it along with the comments here but I’ve also posted it below!

I’m a networker. I love meeting new people, connecting people and being able to help people out. However the word ‘networking’ often fills many people with dread – whether it’s fear of approaching people you don’t know, lack of time or simply not knowing what to do, many people tend to dismiss the idea. At the same time though, we all network in some way. It’s not just about attending networking events, as great as they can be;  it’s about communication, through email, phone or through social media like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Networking is useful for your personal life – it helped me when I moved to London not knowing many people and provided me with a great recommendation when I was re-doing my kitchen! But more importantly it’s also an essential career tool. Your promotion or next career move may lie in the hands of someone you could be engaging and networking with.

“Why should I bother networking?” – To pick up valuable information, broaden your perspectives, find a mentor and to get advice from / connect with people in a similar position to you. It’s also a great sales tool to show people your capabilities and it’s a way for you to help people who may then be able to help you some day. Remember that your network doesn’t just consist of those people you know but their contacts too – a friend of a friend may come in handy.

“But I don’t know what to do!” – Think about what you want to achieve, from who, and how. You want to meet people who could help you, so perhaps colleagues, competitors or other professionals in your sector. However at the same time don’t dismiss those that you don’t think can help you straight away, as you never know when they may be a useful contact. Think about what they could provide for you and vice versa as networking is about giving as well as taking a look at different types of networking events and decide which is the best for you.

“Have you got any networking tips?” – When it comes to face to face networking make sure you look the part, and be aware of body language – smile and approach people to invite people to talk to you. Have a few opening questions ready to start the conversation and be interesting and listen. Most importantly make sure you follow up by sending an email for example – this will make sure you maximise on networking opportunities and don’t instantly forget each other. Also use social networking to keep in touch with contacts old and new.

Networking takes time and is an ongoing process that allows you to share ideas and information. But it can be hugely beneficial and it’s a tool that no professional can ignore. Give it a go – good luck!

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Your thoughts wanted

To celebrate womenintechnology’s fifth birthday next month, we want to hear from you! As always, your opinions are important to us, so we want to hear what you think about women in IT today and over the next 5 years. We’ve put a survey of 5 questions together so it should only take 5 minutes to fill out.

So when you’re taking a quick coffee break, click here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Z2L6GV6 and tell us what you think. We’ll be publishing the results in a couple of weeks so check back here soon. Thanks!

Our recruitment service

claire goodwin

Claire Goodwin, who is heading up the Women in Technology Recruitment Services

With the success of our job board and networking events, womenintechnology.co.uk now has a growing community of almost 6000 people – so thanks for being a part of it! We’ve helped many women in or interested in technology find new jobs in the industry and now we’re stepping up those efforts a bit more.

Over time we’ve had more and more clients – and jobseekers – tell us that they found our job board and career portal a useful tool, but that they wanted more assistance in the recruitment process. With a person handling everything from applications to offers, everyone’s lives are made a bit easier. So, that’s what we’re pushing in 2010.

Women in Technology Recruitment Services now has a team of four experienced recruiters and we want to build upon the success of womenintechnology.co.uk to continue helping increase the flow of female candidates into IT. There are so many firms out there who would love to hire more technical women but they just can’t find them. We’re here to give organisations access to a wider and more diverse talent pool. While we are best placed to source female talent, our short lists will reflect the diverse make-up of the workplace and will include high calibre male IT professionals too – men haven’t been put off using us if we have a job they’re interested in! What’s more, many men think it’s a great idea as they work in all male teams and appreciate that women can bring different skills to the table.

For more information about women in technology’s recruitment services please visit: http://www.womenintechnology.co.uk/recruitment-services or email Claire Goodwin, cgoodwin@womenin.co.uk.

Daily Mail strikes again

The Daily Mail strikes again. And the title says it all: “Can love survive when a woman earns MORE than a man?” You can find the piece here http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1249768/Can-love-survive-woman-earns-MORE-man.html

It starts by saying: “It’s a seismic social shift: nearly half of women are paid as much as or more than their man”. ‘Hooray!’ we think – finally all the fighting for equal rights is perhaps beginning to pay off. However according to the Daily Mail, “it could all end in tears” and “the truth is that we don’t know whether to feel triumphant or dismayed”. That’s certainly news to me!

Here are some other gems of information:

“Many [women] are working simply because their families need their income, and increasing numbers are finding themselves accidental breadwinners because men’s jobs have been hit far harder than women’s in the economic downturn – a phenomenon dubbed the ‘mancession’.”

“If the past 40 years have been all about women entering the workforce and boosting the economy, the next 40 will be spent dealing with the social, personal and family consequences. And that may be the hardest part of all.”

With the struggle of breaking the glass ceiling that women still face, it’s disappointing that articles like this are still written. All it does it turn women’s success into a negative, when it’s an achievement we should be celebrating. What’s more the article states that only 19% of women earn more than their partners with another 25% earning the same – that means that around half of the women in the UK still don’t earn as much as their partner.

As the article states, “social attitudes are still trailing far behind”. But they won’t improve when we’re still reading pieces like this.

The gender pay gap

You may have seen this post on Computer Weekly’s WITsend blog, but in case you missed it, here it is:

Every year we say “a new year, a new start!” And in this case: “a new decade, a new start”. Let’s hope that’s the case when it comes to the dreaded gender pay gap. But results from a survey by silicon.com indicate that instead of the situation improving, the difference between the pay of men and women in IT is getting bigger.

Just take a look at this graph – the results are quite striking:

Far more women than men are in low paid jobs with the majority (35%) earning less than £25,000 a year, compared to just 14% of men. And interestingly whereas the number of women in this pay bracket has risen since 2008, the number of men has decreased. When it comes to salaries in excess of £40,000 the number of men far exceed the number of women – with the amount of men earning top bucks outnumbering women by more than 2:1.

When it came to bonuses, although more women than men took home extra cash in 2009, men received higher amounts. 65% of women who received bonuses got less than £5000 compared to 47% of men and 10% of the males had bonuses of over £20,001, whereas the number of women receiving that reward was: zero.

It always comes back to the same question: why? The main answer seems to be that many women put their career progression on hold due to family commitments, leaving the top jobs open for the men. The huge difference between maternity and paternity leave allowances doesn’t help this situation either (although that looks like it may change). But it’s not just the women that are missing out here – businesses need the input of women, especially at senior level.

Remote working, schemes to help women back into work after maternity leave, mentoring – these are all practices businesses should be looking at so that we can change the look of the graph above and have more women at the top of IT. As I said before, it’s a new decade – let’s hope it signals a new start!