The most significant challenges for women employee engagement in 2015
Technology is big business. It is the fastest-growing sector and it is essential not just to other businesses but also to every person in their daily life. For many years computer-related jobs, whether programming or developing have been a male dominated domain. As this field has expanded there are now an increasing number of female tech employees who are just as capable as their male colleagues.
Unfortunately, this male dominated sector of the economy is failing to look after its female employees. Hundreds of female employees have left the industry and never returned because many employees have failed to keep them engaged.
There are several reasons for this:
Male orientated work environment make women feel insecure
A male-orientated work environment is not set up to deal with female issues. Women who become pregnant require time for medical visits, ante-natal classes and, the birth. They also are entitled to maternity leave. There are other non-pregnancy related needs that women have which men do not but pregnancy can cause the most issues. Many women find that they’re the first ones in their company to request maternity leave and find they have unsympathetic bosses.
Most company policies and procedures have not been set to deal with maternity and other women issues, and bosses appear to lack knowledge of what is required. The result of this is that even if a woman manages to negotiate maternity leave, they are treated as working from home. It is simply not possible to continue to handle the expectations of a full time job and be a new mum.
Women are still paid less than their male peers
Despite the many equality rules women are still frequently paid less than their male colleagues. It is often the case that a woman can simply not afford to pay for childcare and continue to work. If it is not economically viable then the job has to be the casualty. Businesses in tech do not yet seem able or willing to adjust pay or benefits in order to keep hold of valued employees.
The tech world – is it a job for men?
The male dominated world of tech has little understanding of a woman’s needs particularly when it comes to childbirth and the associated demands on her time. As a broad characterization the men working in tech have similar outlooks and types of lives. A woman can find it very hard to fit in or connect with their colleagues when they appear to be so different with no real common ground.
The workplace is organized towards the needs of men, and women find themselves taking a back seat, often with a lack of adequate facilities for their needs. A lack of connection with colleagues and the company make it highly likely that a woman will ultimately leave their job.
Women who do work in tech have found that it is common to be the only woman on a project. The lack of support available from other women in the workplace leaves those who are working vulnerable to discrimination. This can be on the grounds of sexually orientation, age, race or looks. Without a support network or a place to fairly appeal, too many women suffer in silence until it becomes too much.
For many, the additional demands placed on them by motherhood enables them to realize how intolerable their work environment is. This is simply the catalyst. It is essential for the attitudes of tech companies to change to ensure this problem is resolved. Women are as highly trained as men in this field and the loss of their skills is a financial blow to any company. Companies need to re-evaluate their approach to staff and devise appropriate policies and facilities.
Research shows there is not a shortage of young females studying maths and science. There are plenty of young women who wish to establish careers in technology. However, unless the work environment improves they will also end up leaving their jobs and looking for something where they are more welcome. It’s tough for companies to keep their women workers engaged, however there are ways to make things better. Provided that you, as a CEO or owner of a company, treat all employees equally, you have the highest chances of boosting your bottom line too.
Steve Brown is a regular contributor at many sites, including PeopleInsight.co.uk, and mainly focuses on business related topics. His articles are published by many high ranking sites. Connect with him on Twitter and Google+.
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