Women in Pak­istani IT In­dus­try

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Pak­istan Soft­ware Houses As­so­ci­a­tion (P@ SHA) has un­veiled a re­search re­port on work­ing women in the Pak­istan IT in­dus­try. The in­for­ma­tion is based on re­sponses from 50 com­pa­nies and 125 in­di­vid­u­als in IT com­pa­nies in large IT de­part­ments and in non-IT com­pa­nies.

The re­port has re­vealed that women ac­count for 14 per­cent of the IT work­force, of which 37 per­cent are at the mid-ca­reer level while 13 per­cent are in Se­nior Man­age­ment po­si­tions.

The data also points to­wards the pres­ence of the in­fa­mous glass ceil­ing as de­spite years of ex­pe­ri­ence a large pro­por­tion of the women have been un­able to move be­yond mid-level po­si­tions.

An­other ob­ser­va­tion is the sig­nif­i­cantly low num­ber of women who hold more than seven years of work ex­pe­ri­ence un­der their belt. This stunted re­ten­tion can be at­trib­uted to the ‘leaky pipe­line ef­fect’, whereby life events force women’s ca­reers to of­ten take a back seat.

In the con­text of HR poli­cies and prac­tices, a ma­jor­ity of women were sat­is­fied with their work en­vi­ron­ment. While paid ma­ter­nity leave, flex­i­ble hours and emer­gency leave were the most com­monly of­fered ben­e­fits, there were still some com­pa­nies that failed to in­cor­po­rate paid ma­ter­nity leave (a ba­sic HR ben­e­fit world­wide) in their pack­age.

The par­tic­i­pants com­plained about long hours and rec­om­mended flex­i­ble and shorter work tim­ings, trans­porta­tion and day care fa­cil­i­ties.

One gap iden­ti­fied was the lack of train­ing and men­tor­ing pro­grams. Most of the polled com­pa­nies did not ex­tend such op­por­tu­ni­ties to fe­male em­ploy­ees, de­spite their proven ef­fec­tive­ness in en­hanc­ing the abil­i­ties of em­ploy­ees.

Women re­ported that they did not feel un­der­val­ued in com­par­i­son to male coun­ter­parts but wished to see a re­duc­tion in gen­der stereo­typ­ing of IT roles.

The coun­try’s IT in­dus­try is gen­er­at­ing an es­ti­mated $2.8 bil­lion in rev­enue (ex­clud­ing the re­tail seg­ment), mak­ing up 1.2 per­cent of the GDP. Buoyed by im­proved poli­cies and sup­port, this fig­ure could eas­ily be pushed to $10 bil­lion.

Nadeem Elahi, Chair­man, P@SHA and Je­han Ara, Pres­i­dent, P@SHA, ad­dress­ing press con­fer­ence.

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