I’m speaking at the free conference W-Tech about Managing your Online Profile. I do hope you’ll come for the evening networking if not the day of talks as well. Not only are tons of businesses hiring, i-level is hiring too (including jobs not listed on the site) and I’ll be happy to let you know about the company and what jobs we have on offer. Since this is a day about work and jobs for women, it got me thinking about my personal experiences of discrimination within IT as a woman and what I’ve done to overcome them.
One thing I’ve had to overcome is the sense that I need to have mastered all skills required for a job in order to apply for it. Most employers do not expect an applicant to match the skill set exactly and most men will apply for a job if they have 50% of the skills required. A woman will only apply if she has mastered 80% of them. A re-education is required on both sides but that is one reason there are less women in IT. If job descriptions were crafted with this in mind, more women would be captured by focusing on only core essential requirements and focusing on what is actually needed. Many jobs are currently a wishlist employers know will never be filled. I blogged about these kinds of jobs, praising reasonable ones and mocking unreasonable ones.
One of the things that continues to shock, annoy and anger me is the disparity in pay between men and women for the same work. When comparing like to like – so a marketing director to a marketing director, women are *still* paid less than men for doing the same job. I was shown an article in, I believe, the times saying the Equality Commission was guilty of paying women less than men for doing the same job.
If you look around, you’ll see a variety of excuses being made about why women make less than men for the same job, including lifestyle choice. Problem with that is that comparing job with job and ignoring age women are still paid less. Worse yet, sometimes the reason is a lie.
One problem I have found, reiterated by my wonderful boss at Gordano is that women are less likely to ask for a raise. They may feel grateful or even that the boss will be equitable and offer a fair raise if the woman is deserving. One thing I learned from my specialised honours degree in psychology is that women are more likely to go for a lower skilled job they can do easily, rather than risk failure at a more difficult one.
Don’ let these things be barriers for you. Be aware and push beyond them and make sure you are being paid what you are worth. You have experience, knowledge, expertise and drive. Don’t let anyone undervalue you. Come join me and over 400 other women already going to W-Tech 2009 and find just what you deserve!
Just so it is clear, I love working at i-level. It is about as close to my dream job as I am going to get. I work with a group of fab people, in a great area, in fantastic offices and I’m having a blast. I cannot emphasise enough how much I love working at i-level and I’d recommend working here to everyone!