Omigod! There's a Woman in the Data Center!: Page 2


You Can't Detect What You Can't See: Illuminating the Entire Kill Chain

On-Demand Webinar

Posted November 22, 2006

James Maguire

James Maguire

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A Balanced Life

For whatever reason, there are more women in certain niches of IT than in others.

“I’m finding there are more women in applications development,” Niersbach says. “We have some consultants, and out of 10 consultants we probably have four women in applications development.”

On the other hand, “I don’t see women in the DBA area at all. We have probably six DBAs, we have one woman.” Also, “My employer subcontracts some of our IT positions and we rarely see women working in the role of network or systems engineers.”

However, “I see a lot of women going into technical project management, and they’re making pretty big bucks doing project implementation,” she says. This niche is more conceptual than other IT specialties, yet still requires plenty of nitty-gritty tech know-how.

Whatever the niche, for a woman who’s also a mother the devouring pace of a career in technology can be a detriment.

“I could probably make $50,000 more somewhere else,” Niersbach says. “But for me, it’s not necessarily about the money right now.” There are larger considerations, she says.

“There’s a trade-off if you have a family, which I do. I can work 45 hours here, where other companies want you to work 60 hours.” In particular, “A lot of these new IT or dotcom companies don’t want you taking off to go to the dentist ever. Everything is just a major deal.” Balancing a family and an ever-changing technical platform can require some flexibility from an employer.

Pay Levels

“The big issue that is still out there is pay difference,” says Robert Half’s Lee. “What I hear most of all from women in IT is that, ‘Hey, I’ve arrived, but I’m not making as much money.’”

Reinforcing that sentiment is a recent Computerworld survey finding that male IT directors earn an average of $114, 045, while a woman in an equivalent position brings in $109,466. Across all IT positions, men earn an average of 12% more than women, according to the survey.

There may be some reasons for this difference other than bias. Some women – and Amy Niersbach is an example – may be opting for career tracks that allow them to balance motherhood and career, hence limiting their maximum earning power. Still, the pay gap is a sizable one, and is clearly an issue the industry needs to address.

Forrester research reports that one of the 10 key forces that will change the working world is an expanding number of female workers. Will IT keep up?

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