The Case for Women in Business Technology
Let's look realistically at the business technology field and why senior women in IT should be promoting this career to young women:
Salaries are going to climb. There may be as many as 1 million net new IT jobs by 2014, taking into account Baby Boomer retirement. Enterprises will be desperate to get candidates, and salaries will rise. Business technology jobs are already among the highest paying in Australia. Furthermore, at the highest levels of the profession, women have a good chance of making the same money as men.
Companies want a diverse workforce. It makes no sense to have an enterprise where the percentage of women in accounting, sales, service, HR or marketing is demographically representative but is shrinking in IT, whose staff spends all of its time working with these other departments. So recruiters are looking - and will continue to look - for women to fill open IT jobs, even when faced with mostly male applicants.
Meanwhile, says Cheryl Smith, former CIO at McKesson, "Corporate diversity goals will make managers even more willing to promote qualified women once they have recruited them onto the payroll."
Enterprise IT is about business, not just technology. These jobs offer a unique vantage point for learning how companies work, says Patty Morrison, CIO of Motorola.
"I have a liberal arts degree in maths and a secondary education degree," says Morrison. "I started out [doing] market analysis for Procter & Gamble about what sells soap, then went into market research, and then into IT." Michelle McKenna, CIO of Universal Orlando, started as a certified public accountant and worked in marketing and sales before moving into IT.
IT jobs enable work/life balance. Women in senior positions are mobile professionals who can command flexible work schedules. Eileen Gabriel, former CIO of Dick's Sporting Goods, says: "My experience is that if you were talented, you could write your own ticket, and even put some balance in your life. When I was raising my children, I could always work other hours to make up for day hours." Women who have IT jobs that are measured by deliverables - such as requirements analyses, project updates or vendor contract analyses - know that it isn't when or where you do the work, but the work itself that matters most.
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