This is a guest blog from Maggie Berry, managing director of WomeninTechnology.co.uk.
I recently came across an interesting article which outlined the results of a survey on the differences between the career preferences and expectations of men and women.
The results were based on a poll of 15,000 university students across the UK and it seems that women are more likely to be driven by 'serving a greater good', whereas men want to be seen as technical or functional experts. Disappointingly the research, which was conducted by employer branding specialist Universum, also identifies a sizable gap of 17% between the salary expectations of male and female students.
It's no surprise that there are significant disparities between what drives men and women professionally. Women in Technology's latest report on Women's Careers in the Technology Industry found that almost three quarters of women are more likely to apply to a firm with a good benefits package, a third consider the brands commitment to corporate social responsibility, and over half are swayed by the availability of flexible working.
This latest report on career preferences and expectations confirms the gender differences that Women in Technology has observed. It seems men tend to prefer 'macro' employers with women favoring medium sized orginisations. And males want to work in companies they perceive to be constantly innovative, offering high levels of responsibility and rapid promotion schemes. Females want to work for organisations with high ethical standards, opportunities for international travel or relocation, respect for their people and a good basis for a future career.
Universum surveyed the respondents on their ideal employers. Within the technology sector: Apple, Google and Microsoft ranked first, second and third across both genders. This suggests that the employer brands of these companies give the perception of offering perks which are universally attractive.
However organisations which are renowned for their ethical or equitable approach to business rank significantly higher amongst women. L'Oreal is ranked forth by females but 53rd by male students, while John Lewis takes 19th place in the women's list and 59th in the men's.
Studies have shown that companies with women at board level outperform those without - and it's encouraging to see that organisations are now gaining a better understanding of what attributes attract female applicants.
Although women account for 50% of the workforce, less than 20% of people working in IT are female. Employers need to take a look at what factors attract diversity in applications to entice women into their organisations. By tweaking the culture of businesses to create a more holistic environment, companies will ultimately be rewarded with a broader knowledge base and more varied skill-sets across their teams.