Women doing well in high-tech firms

Women with MBAs are giving the information technology sector high marks for creating both satisfying work environments and job opportunities. The findings come from one of three recently released reports on the status of women with higher education in the workforce, conducted by Catalyst, a North American research and advocacy group that focuses on women in business.

The survey found 91 per cent of women with MBAs in high tech firms are satisfied with their current positions, compared to 84 per cent of women MBAs in other fields. Women in marketing and sales in particular fair well in high-tech firms.

And they are even more pleased with their job opportunities, with 94 per cent saying they are satisfied with their future prospects, compared to 75 per cent of women MBAs in other sectors.

In another Catalyst report, the legal community received poor grades compared to IT. About 68 per cent of women lawyers (as well as 66 per cent of men) said they are having work-life balance problems. The inability of law firms and corporate legal departments to accommodate women’s family responsibilities is seen as a barrier to advancement. And while more women are graduating from law schools, they are not sticking with the profession.

“The continuing loss of women from the legal profession constitutes a significant and urgent challenge for our country’s legal community,” says Ron Daniels, dean of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law.

And a third Catalyst study, women are showing steady progress as they climb the corporate ladder.

Slightly more women are holding top “officer” ranks in the largest 500 companies in the U.S. this year. The number of women who hold officer ranks in Fortune 500 companies was 12.5 per cent, slowly moving up from last year’s figure of 11.9 per cent. While these numbers climb steadily in some companies, the report indicates that nearly one-fifth of these organizations still have no women corporate officers. Women top earners are also owning more of the top-earners’ circle, with the their number more than tripling in the last six years from 1.2 per cent to 4.1. per cent in 2000.

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