Microsoft survey gets clearer picture of SA`s woman in IT NOT MUCH is known about the women in South Africa`s IT industry, but the local arm of software giant is hoping to change that. At the end of 2005, it commissioned IT research firm BMI-TechKnowledge to survey the prevalence and growth of women in IT, as well as the challenges they face in this traditionally male-dominated industry.

This in an effort to boost its Women in IT bursary and mentorship programme, which it launched in mid-2005, explains Heather Third, business group manager: Information Worker at Microsoft SA.

BMI-T account manager Chantel Leonard explains that it approached a pool of some 1 700 women, made up of the 400-odd members of the Women in IT forum and women on BMI-T`s own database.

The responses yielded some very interesting data, such as that 62% of the sample was in a management role in their company; some 75% of the sample consisted of white females, but perhaps most significant of all, 57% of the respondents started out in a different field and then moved into IT. Moreover, 58% of the sample have children still living at home and their major challenge is juggling their time.

Also noteworthy were the support structures at their companies: 54% were entitled to flexible hours for emergencies, 30% were allowed to work from home at given times, 4% had access to a cr che at work, but a mere 3% had access to study bursaries.

The two main priorities to change jobs are future career growth and flexible hours.

Tags: Business  Women  In  It