Liz King is Fujitsu's distribution partner manager and finalist in the PCR Woman of the Year event, which takes place in London on October 17th. You can find out more about the event and book your tickets here.
I was asked to think about the following subject in the IT industry: Is the gender divide as bad as ever, or is it getting better? Is it harder for women to get into senior positions?
I have been at Fujitsu for 23 years. I've had many roles within the company where I started on a YTS Scheme (Youth Training Scheme) and worked my up the ranks. During this time I have had my three children and it hasn’t really impacted my career, just the bank balance.
Depending on where you work in our industry, there is a variation of roles occupied by women. I have seen over the last few years the number of women in our team steadily increase, but interestingly the further up the hierarchy this number declines. Having said that, our company does have four female directors on the board.
My experience has been that people who have passion, desire, determination and work for a manager that allows this to develop will eventually reach whatever level they aspire to.
I’m aware that lots of companies drive their equality and diversity programmes quite hard. However, my opinion is that all this should do is create a level playing field as the risk is you end up recruiting a certain type of individual just to meet a theoretical quota. That said, I believe these programmes do make it easier for the right woman to get into the right role and progress within an organisation.
There are industries where it would appear that it is easier for women to rise to the top, for example fashion, cosmetics etc. This could even be seen to be a reversed equality issue! But if we look at my domain, I cannot think why a male should naturally be considered as the preferred option. As there is nothing in our gender make-up that would favour one over the other if they have the right skill set/experience in the market.
We know there are directives in place about equality which hopefully will maintain a level playing field. I believe strongly that if you are the right person then the opportunity is there for the taking.
So ladies remember obstacles are those terrible things that you see when you take your eyes off your goals!