Women unhappy in the IT workplace

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The majority of women working in IT are dissatisfied with their work/life balance, according to research released this week..

While employers claim to support flexible working, women often find the reality quite different.

The survey of over 200 women was conducted by Womenintechnology.co.uk, an online job board and networking group, at an event co-hosted by Microsoft.

The research found that, although 55 percent of respondents believe that they have a work/life balance, almost all added an 'although' or a 'but' to their answer.

"It is a tough juggling act," said one respondent. "I have struggled with it throughout my career. It is definitely something you have to make happen rather than expect other people to provide."

Other respondents commented on the extent to which the work/life balance can differ from job to job.

"I fear every time I change jobs whether the company is going to put work/life balance on their agenda," said one woman.

More than three quarters of respondents indicated that their current employer supports flexible working, but many added that this was very limited. Although flexible working is supported in theory, the reality is that it is not practised.

Others commented that flexible working hours are frowned on by colleagues, and that managers' discretion is an important factor.

One respondent explained that her organisation supports flexible working, but that "in reality not all managers allow their respective teams to participate".

Maggie Berry, director of Womenintechnology.co.uk, said that the event aimed to address this widespread dissatisfaction.

"Our keynote 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 right for them," she said.

"The number of women working in IT is dwindling and the work/life balance is often cited as a key reason.

"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."
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