Is the culture of the tech sector holding women back?
A view from Staff

Is the culture of the tech sector holding women back?

The technology sector is often associated with long hours, an intense dedication to the job at the expense of life outside and a workforce dominated by men. In a time when 'always on' is often confused with 'always working', are female staff falling prey to 'brogrammer' culture?

Each month The Forum questions members of The Marketing Society on a hot topic. For more on membership, visit www.marketingsociety.com.

NO

Cilla Snowball

Group chairman and group CEO, AMV BBDO

Technology means we can work smarter, faster and better. It puts us in control, removing geography, time zones and hierarchy.

Functionality is getting simpler, more instinctive and more personalised. It’s all wireless, it’s wearable and it’s connected.

Technology allows us to work flexibly, on the move, in any location. It has opened up opportunities for remote working and smart working. It’s making our work lives and our home lives richer, connecting them more productively and giving us more options.

Yes, it’s always on, but it has an off switch. You control it. It doesn’t control you.

Good leaders and good teams respect the boundaries. They are excited by the possibilities, not ground down by the volume. Nobody can function properly if they are literally ‘always on’, male or female.

NO

Josh Graff

Senior director, LinkedIn marketing solutions, EMEA

Technology can be key to flexible working arrangements for women and men who need them. Employers in the technology sector must be willing to change their notion of the typical workday and put trust in their employees to get the job done outside the nine-to-five, but without the work day bleeding into valuable personal time.

It’s also up to every employee to set their own boundaries in the workplace, regardless of their sector or seniority, and make the most of technology to work flexibly.

Technology should not be holding back women in the tech sector, or dictating the terms of their work life – it should enable them to realise their career goals on their own terms and empower them to find the work-life balance that’s right for them.

MAYBE

Karl Gregory

Managing director UK & Ireland, Match.com

In her book Thrive, Arianna Huffington rightly pointed out that "always on" doesn’t mean "always available". It’s scientifically accepted that having time out helps improve performance, creativity and productivity, not to mention the benefits to employee morale.

Gender roles have changed significantly and the modern workforce needs to be able to work flexibly, in a way that suits them and their employer. For nobody is this more true than parents, especially time-poor mothers.

It is true that some company cultures could hold women back, particularly mothers, but, as a rule, technology companies are often more progressive when it comes to welfare.

At Match we offer mothers flexible working hours according to their schedule and try to be flexible with the number of days worked each week.

NO

Merinda Peppard

Marketing director, EMEA, Hootsuite

It’s crucial to recognise the significant difference between ‘always con­nected’ and ‘always working’.

With technology that allows us to connect to work anytime, anywhere, it’s easy to fall into the latter trap, which can quickly leave us burnt out, unproductive and often unhappy.

Workers now are part of the ‘experiment’ generation of the digital world. It’s up to us to switch off regularly and use technology in a way that benefits our careers and personal lives.

Having the flexibility to work at times that suit us means women can juggle work commitments with more traditional challenges like raising a family. Technology is also the change agent for men to work flexibly and take an equal role in childcare. Either way, it is win-win for equality in the workplace.

The social-media sector is just one industry based on new technologies that can empower women to work more flexibly and effectively.


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