77% of women working in IT do not feel they have sufficient skills to manage in a political context within the workplace. This figure comes from a recent “Political Savvy for Women in IT” event held by online job board and networking portal www.womenintechnology.co.uk in association with Société Générale.
The main skills that women wanted to develop were their confidence in both handling and identifying office politics. “I tend to ignore politics and avoid it in the office”, said one attendee while another commented “I want to gain the ability to analyse and understand the political environment”.
“Knowing the difference between gossip and politics” and “managing the egos of others in a testosterone fuelled workplace” were also on women’s wish lists.
The research also highlighted how office politics had affected many women in their jobs with 53% of attendees saying that they had been the victim of labelling, stereotyping or sabotage at work. When asked how they had responded in a politically savvy way to a situation, many answered that they simply had not; they had changed their job or had taken legal action.
“I kept my job and hoped someone would notice that I was different and I started labelling and sabotaging the person myself. Neither worked” said one respondent while another commented “We do what women always do – overperform – outdo the critics but this is energy sapping and not always productive“
Maggie Berry, Director of womenintechnology.co.uk, said, “This political savvy event was a great success and provided many women with practical tips for dealing with office politics and answered many of their questions. All our events aim to empower women who are working in a male dominated industry and hopefully the attendees felt this was another step forward in us doing that.”