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Women In Wireless Reveal Opportunities

Women In Wireless Reveal Opportunities

& lsquo;Organisational culture’ and & lsquo;ineffective personal initiatives’ are key barriers for women looking to advance into senior business roles

Research from Women in Wireless (WiW) UK in association with Telef&oacutenica reveals the barriers and opportunities for women looking to progress in mobile and digital media industries

Two thirds (66%) believe that organisational culture is the main reason why women are under-represented at senior levels in wireless and digital media industries, followed by a lack of career development opportunities at 20%

83% of women between 35-54 believe that it is harder for women to succeed in their careers than men, compared to 65% of 18-34 year olds

Only 27% have taken time out of work to progress their development

30% of respondents state that they are using their professional networks to build successful business relationships. 52% do not use networks to identify mentors and sponsors to support their career and 41% use them & lsquo;somewhat’

44% believe that their work-life balance is poor

Just 31% of SMEs provide external training for employees compared to 50% of corporates 30% of SMEs have short term career development plans in place for staff compared to over half (51%) of corporates

42% of respondents believe that companies should set up coaching/sponsorship opportunities to help women progress, followed by HR leadership programmes (40%), flexible working options (39%) and childcare support (24%)

Women in Wireless (WiW) UK, a volunteer-led organisation which aims to promote and develop female leaders in the mobile and digital media industries, has today announced the results of its WiW UK State of Play Survey. The survey results have been developed to raise awareness of the industry’s gender diversity issues and highlight the barriers and opportunities for women across SMEs and corporate organisations. The research, conducted in association with Telef&oacutenica, polled over 600 people working in the UK’s mobile and digital media industries, and looked at & lsquo;Company Programmes’, & lsquo;Personal Initiatives’ and & lsquo;Perception of Organisational Culture’, and the impact that these areas have on career progression.

Initial insights

The study reveals that two thirds (66%) of respondents believe that organisational culture is the main reason why women are under-represented at senior levels in digital media and mobile industries, followed by a lack of career development opportunities (20%). The results also reveal a stark difference between the career development plans and company training programmes offered by SMEs and corporate organisations – just 31% of SMEs provide external training for employees compared to 50% of corporates (49% and 79% respectively when looking at internal training), and only 30% of SMEs have short term career development plans in place for staff compared to over half (51%) of corporate organisations.

When looking at the areas that women are proactively working on to help develop their careers, 61% have undertaken training, 60% have addressed feedback from peers or managers and 58% have increased their profile and visibility in the business.

Barriers to career progression

The Women in Wireless UK report reveals that 83% of women between the ages of 35-54 believe that it is harder for women to succeed in their careers than men, with 65% of 18-34 year olds agreeing. While more than 62% of respondents stated that there are opportunities to progress their career in their organisations, more than half (57%) say that there has been no opportunity for progression over the past year. Interestingly, of the people who did have the opportunity to progress, the majority did not apply for the position due to a lack of confidence and personal reasons, such as pregnancy and childcare support.

Training alone is not enough

The research reveals that over two thirds (69%) have attended a training session over the past 12 months, 46% have actively sought internal training and 36% have sought external training. But while some companies are providing their employees with training, there is a discrepancy between what people are looking to achieve from company development programmes and what they are being offered. When asked about the schemes that companies should be offering in order to help them in progress their careers, & lsquo;more training’ ranked seventh on the list, after & lsquo;more mentoring/sponsorship opportunities’ (42%), & lsquo;HR programmes to help women in leadership roles’ (40%), & lsquo;more flexible working options’ (39%), & lsquo;new or improved corporate culture’ (30%) and & lsquo;childcare support’(24%). So it is clear that women looking to succeed in the wireless and digital media industries are seeking more than just training in their career development plans.

Driving personal initiatives is the key to success

A quarter (25%) of respondents ranked & lsquo;self-belief and confidence’ as the number one factor which they believe will help support the progression of their careers. But while 42% of people said that & lsquo;mentoring and sponsorship’ is a key factor which would support them in their career development, only 22% have actively sought an internal mentor over the past year, and 10% have an external mentor. Interestingly, only 1 in 2 (49%) of people surveyed said that they have a role model. & lsquo;Managers’ (including & lsquo;senior managers’ and & lsquo;leadership team’) were seen as the top role models in business, followed by industry leaders including & lsquo;Sheryl Sandberg’ and & lsquo;Marissa Meyer’.

When looking at the initiatives that people are undertaking to help them progress, 44% go online to build their network of contacts, 42% attend industry events, 41% are members of networking groups and just under a quarter (23%) of respondents use Professional Associations.

Commenting on the survey results, Rimma Perelmuter, Co-Founder of Women in Wireless UK and Co-Chair of Development, said*: “The results clearly highlight that companies need to look beyond formal training to help women in our industry maximise their full potential – including flexible working options and facilitating access to coaching, mentoring and sponsorship.  At the same time, the data highlights that women in our industry would benefit from more proactively undertaking the right combination of personal initiatives to achieve a fulfilling career. To this end, WiW UK will be calling upon the results to develop tailored programmes on issues such as leadership, personal effectiveness and career planning in collaboration with Industry.”

Jennifer Macrae, Co-Founder and Team Leader of Women in Wireless UK**, added “Women in Wireless was set up to help connect, develop and promote women working in the wireless and digital media industries. The organisation has been running in the US for several years and we have decided to build on its success by opening it up to women in the UK. The survey results are a call to action for the industry at large to raise awareness of gender diversity issues here and help develop programmes that really address the issues that women are facing in the rapidly evolving wireless and digital media industries today.”

Derek McManus, Chief Operating Officer, Telef&oacutenica UK and Board lead for Diversity and Inclusion, comments: “It is quite sobering to see that many women still believe that it is harder to succeed in their careers than it is for men.  As an industry, we need to do more to turn this around, and it’s up to senior management to ensure they’re doing as much as possible to encourage and inspire their female employees. Whether that’s running mentoring schemes to support women throughout their career, for example Telef&oacutenica’s Women in Leadership Programme, using positive role models of successful women in the industry, or pioneering flexible working practices, all businesses can make a difference. It’s crucial that the industry works with organisations like Women in Wireless to take action.”

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