Women in Pakistani IT Industry
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.