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IT workers demand greater work flexibility

Concerns over work-life imbalance

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IT workers want more flexible working patterns to help improve their work-life balance.

Snag is, they fear that asking to work from home, for example, could damage their future career prospects.

A study into flexible working in the IT industry was published today by the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) and the Women in IT Forum. It found that nine in ten women and eight in ten men want more flexibility in their working practices.

Half of those quizzed said they didn't get involved with their family as much as they would like, while a third did not believe that their organisation was committed to helping them achieve a reasonable work/life balance.

Three quarters feared that moving to a part-time or flexible career would harm their career prospects, prompting analysts to suggest that this could explain why the number of women working in IT fell three per cent last year.

Part of the problem appears to be that since senior managers in IT don't do "flexible working", there are few positive role models to reinforce this more enlightened way of working.

Said Carol Savage, MD of Flexecutive, which conducted the study on behalf of the DTI and the Women in IT Forum: "In common with many other industries, IT professionals are looking for a relationship with their manager and their organisation that measures their performance, not their input, and which gives them a greater degree of control over how they achieve their objectives.

"They in turn will be more motivated and deliver a higher quality of work.

"Without a stronger commitment to work-life balance, the IT sector is likely to continue to be unable to attract the best to the sector and to see increased female flight." ®

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