Recruitment Consultant Awards

What better way to kick off a new week than to inform all of our readers that we have been shortlisted in the category of ‘Best Job Board’ at the Recruitment Consultant Awards for 2010. We are very proud to be shortlisted, not least because the competition was among some very big names but also because we have worked very hard to build our network to over 6,000 people over the past five years so to be shortlisted really acknowledges this hard work.

We differentiate ourselves from most job boards in that we don’t just advertise jobs – we offer professional development training courses, networking events, role model profiles, industry news, research white papers. We hope that as this growing and vibrant community for women in IT that we’ll hopefully stand a good chance of success!

Fingers crossed we win the award – we’ll keep you updated!

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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!

Women’s networks

Is it the end of the road for women’s networks? Elizabeth Harrin from The Glass Hammer blog wrote an interesting piece last week based on this question after attending an event hosted by Morgan Stanley, which I also happened to go to. It’s certainly an interesting question – women’s groups, networks etc always seem to be a controversial topic as many query whether they do more harm than good.

See Elizabeth’s post here for the full story, but in a nutshell it revolves around this quote: “We have to stop bringing groups of women together to talk about what we know is going wrong….We have to convince our companies to stop fixing the women. The underlying assumption with all of those programmes [mentoring, executive coaching, etc] is that there must be something wrong with women.”

Being a women’s network, of course we are going to defend them! But, with good reason. The first point I would make is that the woman behind these words, Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, seems to be referring to “women-only” groups. And I would say I agree that these are not the most constructive ways of encouraging progress. Womenintechnology is women orientated but not exclusive – in fact we always encourage men to attend our events and love it when they do! I also agree that women discussing what is going wrong is not a particularly helpful activity. Our events and training courses often do discuss the problems that women face and allow them to share experiences, but we then provide advice to help these women tackle these problems in the future. We often gear them towards skills we know that women – in general – struggle with.

Then comes the ‘but’. I don’t think it’s true that the underlying assumption is that there must be something wrong with women. Networking groups, mentoring, coaching and other female orientated groups and networks exist because it is no secret that there are inequalities in the workplace. Their aim is to provide support to women who often feel isolated in a male dominated environment and help them feel more confident and happy in their work. What’s wrong with that?

There are many interesting responses to Elizabeth’s blog that are also worth a read. What do you think? Leave your comments here.

Leadership in Challenging Times

Get rid of the boys’ club attitude!

That was the main message from female technologists at our recent event – Leadership in Challenging Times. Held in association with WeAreTheCity, the event was hosted by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in London and had a great turnout – thanks to everyone who attended!

As always, we asked attendees to answer a few sign up questions before the event, and as always we got some interesting and informative responses. The main message to come from the female technologists was that to increase female leadership we need to get rid of the boys’ club, appreciate diversity and support more flexible working. Here some other key findings:

  • 68% of attendees considered themselves to be a leader within their organisation
  • 93% agreed that men and women’s leadership styles differ
  • 63% believed that communication skills are the most important core competency for authentic leadership

When we asked the attendees what businesses could do to increase the number of female leaders, many said there needed to be more education in the workplace about the variations in men and women’s leadership styles, and that these differences should be embraced. Flexible working and coaching / mentoring were other popular suggestions to increase female leadership. Here is what a few women had to say:

  • “Discourage stereotypes that make women feel they need to behave like men in order to progress”
  • “[We need] awareness and identification that women lead in a different way and a better understanding about what women can bring to the table”
  • “Find a way of making family and business needs work in tandem rather than against each other
  • “Introduce mentoring and coaching within organisations, without a doubt. The culture of some organisations needs to shift from the competitive to the collaborative.”
  • “I consider myself a leader but struggle to be in a leadership position due to the nature of my male dominated organisation”
  • “Re-train male and female core competencies to all execs.”
  • “Get rid of the boys’ club attitute to promoting and hiring. Most people promote people like them – there needs to be more of an objective approach to promotions.”

Do you agree with these women? Are these the right steps to be taken? Would they improve the number of women in leadership? Leave your thoughts here!

Clever Decision Making

We’re looking forward to our next event, “Clever Decision Making”, which is taking place next Tuesday 27th October in London. Ahead of the event, we surveyed the female technologists that signed up, about their thoughts on decision making in the workplace. Here are some of the findings:

• 55% of women thought that they influenced their manager’s decision making well or really well. However many also cited convincing and influencing management as their biggest challenge with regards to decision making in the workplace.
• The majority (88%) enjoy making decisions and being responsible for them
• When asked about their main difficulties with decision making, another common answer was having the confidence that their decision was the right one, and making this decision quickly and effectively.
• 52% said individual judgement was more important than company policy when making a final decision

As always, we got some great comments too. A few of them are below:

• “I do often find it difficult, after weighing up the positives and negatives of each, to feel confident about the decision I’ve made and always wonder ‘what if?’ with the other options – I’d like to be less hesitant.”
• “I have to know everything before I am comfortable making a decision”
• [Challenge is] finding the key decision maker – getting them to say ‘yes’ and once they say ‘yes’ getting the follow up and key steps committed.
• “it is one of the biggest challenges in decision making – not getting swayed by the person that is better at putting his / her point across.

It’s great to see that the majority of the women we surveyed feel positively about something that so many people struggle with. What is really interesting is how many of the respondents commented that they wanted to make sure they had all the information and had considered all options before they made a final decision. This is a prime example of how women are less prone to taking risks than men, another reason why a gender balance is so vital to a successful team.

“Clever Decision Making”, which we’re co-hosting with Bank of America, will be held at the Merrill Lynch Financial Centre in London on 27th October. The keynote speaker is Julia Thrul, Founder of V.G.L. Ltd and there will also be a panel Q&A and networking session. It promises to be a great event so book your place now here! Hope to see you there.

Female events

wtechSeeing as one of our main focuses is events and training geared towards women in IT, I read the recent blog entry “Do Women Want Female-Only Tech Events?” with interest. It’s understandable that female technologists can feel slightly patronised when invited to a women only event; they often pose questions like ‘why should we be treated any different?’ And if this post is anything to go by, ‘why should we pay for the privilege of going to an event which happens to be attended by women?’ But I agree that these are valid questions!

I can only comment from my own experience, which is that anything for ‘women only’ is not a particularly great idea. Our events are instead tailored to women but very much open to men too – in fact, we’d love for more men to attend! The fact of the matter is that there are issues that effect women in the workplace more than men and so addressing these problems for a female audience is often necessary; for example, events that we’ve held in the past include building a confident brand, achieving as a woman in technology and political savvy. However this doesn’t mean that no men are welcome, that the event is going to be based on gender stereotypes or that we will charge a small fortune for the privilege of an all women meeting.

The purpose of our female focussed events is to empower women with knowledge that can help them in their careers whilst helping them to meet other technical women. This allows attendees to build up a bank of useful contacts, chat to people in similar circumstances as themselves, get advice and generally feel part of a bigger community in what is a very male dominated industry. And that’s why I think they’re a great idea! Many women that have come to our events in the past have commented on how much they enjoy going to a female event, but often women will need to go to one to get a taste of what it’s like before they make their mind up. They may not be for everyone and I’d certainly recommend going to mixed events too – but if they’re done properly, events for women in IT are a must.

Career challenges?

Just a reminder that W-Tech will be held on 24th June at the IET in London by womenintechnology.co.uk and the BCS. It promises to be a very informative and enjoyable event, with a day full of career development workshops which will tackle a wide range of issues that women in IT face in their careers. These range from how to behave in an all male team to political savvy and there will be an opportunity to meet a selection of top IT employers. This will be followed by an evening networking session and a panel discussion of successful women in technology. And even better, it’s completely free to attend!

Whether you’re a graduate, IT professional, returner or an employer wishing to grab a last minute exhibiting spot, please visit www.wtech-event.co.uk for more information and to register. Hope to see you there!