What can women learn from men about climbing the IT career ladder?

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Before I start this blog I want to make it clear that I'm not suggesting that women become more like men. That's definitely not something I would recommend - we don't need more testosterone in the world of IT.

However, generally there are certain things that men do in their careers that women (again, generally) aren't as good at, from our observations in the recruitment industry. And by sometimes taking a leaf out of the men's guidebook, women may be able to progress their careers faster or more efficiently.

Here are a few examples to show what I mean:

Women are generally more loyal to their employers. This is a great character trait to have - no employer wants people working for them that are going to jump ship at any given opportunity and a CV with solid work history will be very attractive to employers and recruiters.

However, one of the reasons that men often get paid more than women and get promoted quicker is because they change jobs more often. Instead of waiting for a pay rise or an opportunity to climb the career ladder, they'll look externally for it. Is this a reason for the gender pay gap? It's certainly not the only reason but it may be one of many contributing factors.

In a similar vein to the point above, when it comes to applying for new jobs, women are often a lot more selective about the jobs they apply for. Again, this can be a good attribute as it means only applying for jobs that your skills and experience are suited to. However it may also mean that women miss out on opportunities. We find that (generally!) women will only apply for a job if they tick 90 - 100% of the boxes in the job description, despite this usually being an employer's wishlist and by no means strict criteria.

Men on the other hand are more likely to apply even if they only tick half of the boxes. Here's an anecdote to explain further: a senior job is advertised with an attractive salary to match the responsibilities - although there are women qualified, none apply. The same job is posted with a much lower salary and the employer receives a number of applications from female candidates.

It's something that many women don't like doing, but in order to progress your career, you need to shout about your achievements and successes. And whether it's down to a lack of confidence or fear of being too egotistical, it's something else that women don't do as often as men. It's not enough to be doing a good job; you need to be seen to be doing a good job.

This said, there are of course things that men do that women usually do a lot better. For example, women tend to do far more interview preparation, as opposed to 'winging it' - a method favoured by many men.

Simply having more confidence, believing in your abilities and not being afraid to sell yourself and your skills can have a big impact on your career - we need more girl power!

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Maggie Berry published on March 3, 2011 9:30 AM.

We need legislation to get more tech women into boardroom was the previous entry in this blog.

International Women's Day - where are we with IT? is the next entry in this blog.

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