Reflections for the Future

Reflections for the Future

Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4534-9.ch009
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Abstract

This chapter considers the careers of women more generally, not just of those in the computer game industry. The chapter considers ways forward and how the workplace can be improved to help women’s careers. This includes identifying career factors and considering a number of psychological constructs, such as stereotypes and solo status. It considers the position of women in senior management and leadership positions, explores how women are disadvantaged in the workforce, and provides the reader with an understanding of the issue of time and how this impacts the careers of women due to the long hours culture associates with many careers, especially male-dominated careers. Finally, the chapter looks at how organisational practices can support women in the workforce.
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Introduction

Career aspirations are important to consider when looking at women’s advancement and career development. Early research by Carr (1997) found health issues associated with career aspirations, in that women who had not achieved their career goals had lower levels of ‘purpose of life’ and higher levels of depression than women who felt they had achieved their earlier goals. Mayrhofer et al. (2005) put forward that career aspiration is a form of self-selection since individual self-select success is dependent on personal strengths and weaknesses. Career aspirations are influenced by many factors including gender, socioeconomic status, race, parent’s occupation, educational level and expectations (Domenico & Jones, 2006).

Implicit stereotypes have been found to impact gender differences in estimated salaries; with money and wealth viewed as masculine (Williams et al., 2010). Bendl and Schmidt (2010) suggest that although the glass ceiling is still a useful metaphor, they also argue that the glass firewall is perhaps a more useful metaphor. The authors put forward that the glass firewall metaphor captures the complexity, fluidity and heterogeneity of discrimination in contemporary organizations. This captures the ‘invisibility’ and multifaceted nature of barriers to women within the workplace. Wilson-Kovacs, Ryan, and Haslam (2006) examined the concept of the glass cliff to explain what happens to women as they advance in senior positions. The glass cliff is a metaphor used to refer to mainly women in leadership positions, which tend to be risky and precarious. The study looked at women in the UK’s private IT sector and found the concept of the glass cliff useful when looking at retention and the lack of women in executive positions, within the sector. There is also evidence of a glass cliff in politics (Ryan, Haslam, & Kulich, 2010). Other ways in which women are marginalized may be due to organizational structures or cultures.

Gendered occupational segregation has a detrimental effect on many aspects of women’s careers most specifically pay, promotion and career opportunities. As we have discussed throughout this book, gender inequalities are apparent in the workforce and echoed at the most senior levels. In the United Kingdom women comprise more than half of the senior workforce (57%), yet at the most senior levels, only 24% of chief executives are female. In terms of pay, difference are found at all levels. The Fawcett Society (2012), campaigns for gender equality and believes that a dedicated women's employment strategy is required. The Fawcett Society report a 15 percent difference in the pay of men and women. However, there are sector differences, with a 13.2% gender pay gap in the public sector and 20.4% gender pay gap in the private sector. The Chartered Management Institute (CMI, 2012), conduct a National Management Salary Survey yearly, in the United Kingdom. The 2011/2012 data was collected from 38,843 employees, from junior manager to board level and reported that women senior managers face a lifetime pay gap of £423,390 less over their lifetimes, than men who follow identical career paths. The Chartered Management Institute have also reported that women managers now earn £14,689 a year less than their male counterparts, with female directors earning an average basic salary of £127,257, compared with a male director’s average salary of £141,946. Cash bonuses were also considerably less. The average for a male executive was £ 7,496, compared with £3,726 for a female executive. Of particular concern, was the fact that women are more likely to be made redundant than men. The CMI reported that between Aug 2011 and Aug 2012, 4.3 per cent of female executives, compared with 3.2 per cent of male executives, and 7.4 per cent of female directors compared with 3.1 per cent of male directors, were made redundant. The number of women losing their jobs has almost doubled, since the last survey of 2010/2011 data (CMI, 2012). Due to the economic downturn, redundancies are unfortunately commonplace. However, the CMI finding lead to the conclusion that inequity exists, with more senior women, than men potentially retiring early, disengaging from the labour market or seeking new employment. New employment, may well be below the level the individual is qualified for and possibly part-time, due to availability of employment.

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