Recent research of over 200 women by womenintechnology.co.uk, the online job board and networking group has revealed that the majority of women working in IT are dissatisfied with their work/life balance and that although employers say they support flexible working, the reality is often quite different.
The research, carried out at the “Working Smarter, Not Harder”, networking event recently hosted by womenintechnology.co.uk and Microsoft, showed that although over half (55%) felt that they did have a work / life balance, almost all added an “although” or a “but” to their answer.
“It’s a tough juggling act” said one respondent. “I have struggled with it throughout my career. It’s definitely something you have to make happen rather than expect other people to provide.” Other respondents commented on how much work/life balance can differ from job to job, “I fear every time I change jobs about whether the company is going to put work/life balance on their agenda” said one woman.
77% said that their current organisation does support flexible working, but many added that this was very limited and that although flexible working was supported in theory, the reality is that it is not practiced. Others commented that flexible working hours are frowned upon by colleagues and that managers’ discretion is an important factor. One respondent explained “yes my organisation does support flexible working; however my understanding is that in reality, not all managers allow their respective teams to participate.”
Maggie Berry, Director of womenintechnology.co.uk says that this widespread dissatisfaction with work/life balance was what the event aimed to address: “Our key note speaker was Dr Suzanne Doyle-Morris who talked about what makes successful people work smarter and not harder in order to achieve a work life balance that is unique and completely right for them. The number of women working in IT is dwindling and work/life balance is often cited as a key reason for this” she explains. “Hopefully the event taught the women present how they can work ‘smarter, not harder’ and find a way of achieving that work/life balance that we all strive for.”
Details of the event can be found at http://www.womenintechnology.co.uk/workingsmarter/.
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