Career vs Family life

I recently came across an article in HR magazine claiming that more than a third of women do not think they can meet their career goals while still paying enough attention to their personal lives. We recently blogged about the lack of women on the board of UK firms – are the two connected?

Kenexa Research claims ‘traditionally, women play a larger role in managing their family responsibilities and, therefore, they are likely to feel pressure in trying to balance both work and family demands’.  Kenexa carried out a survey of over 1000 employees asking for their views on work-life balance; just over fifty per cent believed their employers supported their efforts to balance both their work life and personal life. Does being successful both in the workplace and at home depend then on the support you get from your employer? Read the rest of this entry »

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Are women bad networkers?

Here is a post I wrote recently for Computer Weekly’s WITsend blog:

Are women bad networkers?

In my opinion the answer to this question is, of course, no. At womenintechnology we organise lots of networking events which are always very popular. There was a piece in the Times recently entitled ‘why are women such bad networkers?’ that, understandably, grabbed my attention! Its overall message is: women aren’t confident enough to network, men are better at it, women don’t think it’s important and are therefore to an extent ‘invisible’. There is obviously a bit more to it than that though, you can read the whole article here: http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/article7057300.ece.

A few parts of the piece I agree with. Women are not the best at shouting about their talents and achievements in comparison to men, and that is something that we need to improve on in order to get ahead in our careers. However I don’t agree that women are bad networkers; in fact I think women are the ultimate networkers and realise how important it is today.

The article also says “in a business world still dominated by men, networking solely with other women is not much use” – but I don’t think that’s true either. It’s obviously best to network with as many people as possible but networking with women is a great way to gain support, confidence and advice from people who are, or have been, in the same position as you. What do you think?

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!

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.

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!

Career DIY

Read my article on helping to progress your own IT career on Business Computing World, featuring quotes and advice from top female technologists: http://www.businesscomputingworld.co.uk/?p=2153

Networking events in December 2009

Although we’re not hosting any more networking events this year, there are plenty of events being run by other organisations that you can go along to during December. We believe networking is one of the most important things you can do for your career enhancement / progression so have a look through this list of events (they’re all happening in London so apologies to everyone outside of the capital) and get along to those which are of interest to you.

As ever please contact the relevant organiser if you have any questions and if you’d like to see other events listings, click here: http://www.womenintechnology.co.uk/events/

Tuesday 1st December: City Women’s Network: Female FTSE Report 2009 – Where to from here?

Wednesday 2nd December: Management Today – IT Innovation Debate (breakfast meeting)

Thursday 3rd December: Inspiring Women Series: Plug into Mentoring

Friday 4th December: CIO Executive Council Women in IT Networking Breakfast

Tuesday 8th December: MasterCard European Women’s Leadership Network

Tuesday 8th December: Women in Telecoms and Technology Group (WiTT) Meeting

Thursday 10th December: BCSWomen Christmas Networking Event

Tuesday 15th December: WES Shape the Future: Step up to the Challenge – networking and celebration of women in STEM

And we’ll look forward to seeing you at our events in 2010!

Thanks so much!