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Women Are Fleeing IT Jobs 578

Posted by Zonk
from the different-priorities dept.
Lucas123 writes "An alarming number of women are currently abandoning IT jobs that require workers to be on-call at all hours, according to a story in Computerworld. One study cited in the article states that by 2012, 40% of women now working in IT will leave for careers with more flexible hours. 'I think women in that regard are at a real disadvantage,' said Dot Brunette, network and storage manager at Meijer Inc., a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer and a 30-year IT veteran. She noted that companies can fail to attract female workers, or see them leave key IT jobs, because they fail to provide day care at work, or work-at-home options for someone who leaves to have a child.'"
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Women Are Fleeing IT Jobs

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  • by GuyMannDude (574364) on Friday April 20, 2007 @09:44PM (#18819945) Journal

    'I think women in that regard are at a real disadvantage,' said Dot Brunette, network and storage manager at Meijer Inc., a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer and a 30-year IT veteran.

    What a stupid name. Too bad she didn't get married to Jeff Matrix instead.

    GMD

    • by philpalm (952191) on Friday April 20, 2007 @09:55PM (#18820031)
      What happened to all those jobs in which you can work at home with? The training that is supposed to support via phone/internet is supposedly right down this type of work. Its not like the boss has to look over your shoulder all the time. Furthermore all e-mails and other work is easily documented isn't it?
      • by Jimmy King (828214) on Friday April 20, 2007 @10:01PM (#18820069) Homepage Journal
        In my experience management doesn't like people to work from home most of the time. They can't see how much time the employee is spending working. Most management I've had cares more about how much time you spend working than how much work you get done.

        To be fair, there is some rationale to that... if it only takes you 3 hrs/day to do all of your work you can for the day and another guy in your department 4 hrs/day to do his work, then the company can get rid of one of you and still get the same amount of work done in an 8 hr day.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by KoshClassic (325934)
          Yes, but if management calls after hours to handle some sort of emergency or unusual situation, should / can they really object if you do that work from home? And if they don't object, is the on call requirement even an issue?

          Also, this whole topic is predicated on the belief that there are no single fathers out there trying to raise their kids. Fewer of them to be sure, but they are out there.
          • by Anonymous Coward
            Women have the world by the balls.

            In our sexist society (biased towards the female gender), they've never had it easier. They enjoy freedom of choice in the job market, or can opt to stay at home and raise children (or do both). They are perfectly free to use marriage and divorce as businesses, enriching their personal fortunes by doing nothing more than providing sex. They are allowed to manipulate men with sex and tears to get whatever they want. They have been granted permission to usurp traditional male
            • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Friday April 20, 2007 @10:44PM (#18820437) Journal
              An entire continent of women were abandoned for the better part of a decade while their men went off to war, then came back shell shocked and broken to women who'd had their families providers ripped away long ago and weren't the tender nurturers they used to be. A unique cultural trauma in the world. For both genders.

              Try to be philosophical about it. Other cultures will rise.
              • by buswolley (591500) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @12:29AM (#18821135) Journal
                Well.. One thing is now certain about Geek IT culture... There goes the Geeks only chance of meeting a woman..
                • by afidel (530433) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @01:49AM (#18821493)
                  I know it's a stereotype but almost all of the geek's I know are in stable long term relationships, either married or live in SO's. The people I see who are all alone in their parent's basement are simply nerds, they don't appear to have any real amount of skill or focus, just a lack of social adjustment. I think once they get out of HS most geeks blossom somewhat and are able to make a connection with people not intimately involved with their geeky subjects (or perhaps involved in secondary geeky subjects like say renfairs). Of course the internet and the fact that the richest people in the world have been geeks for a couple decades has probably helped the situation for Gen X geeks.
                  • by westlake (615356) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @07:59PM (#18827515)
                    Of course the internet and the fact that the richest people in the world have been geeks for a couple decades has probably helped the situation for Gen X geeks.

                    The Forbes U.S. Top Ten:

                    Bill Gates
                    Warren Buffet
                    Sheldon Adelson (casino gaming)
                    Paul Allen
                    Michael Dell
                    The Walmart heirs

                    This is fundamentally a list of first and second generation entrepreneurial capitalists. The money isn't in the technology , it's in marketing the technology.

            • by Rukie (930506) on Friday April 20, 2007 @11:18PM (#18820675) Homepage Journal
              Although I think you have gone a little far with your statement (and have become flamebaited) I must agree that all this "retribution" is getting a little out of hand. Unfortunately, a man (like myself) can say nothing about it without be called a sexist. On the squawkbox or whatever news channel that is, there was recently a WOMAN complaining about the government getting in the affairs of women and how much they get paid. The govt wants to help women have increased wages so that they earn the same amount as a man. However, what hasn't crossed their minds is that the kind of work they do is FAR different from the average work of a man. Many men work in dangerous jobs such as construction, roofing, etc. Many women work as clerks/teachers/support calls/etc and work with more flexible hours.
              I do realize that there are quite a few single mothers out there (of course, one could also blame the teenagers that are having sex at such a young age). In fact, I recently discovered that two of my former gradeschool classmates (like, from 4 years ago? I'm senior in highschool now) are pregnant, and one of which for the second time!
              I personally think retribution is going a little too far for sexism. I mean, look at these women who marry millionaires and famous actors, then divorce, and NEVER get another job so they can just soak up their divorced husbands money. However, these are the women that do not care about equality, but rather themselves. Many of the women that are concerned about equality are those that do not have it.
              Unfortunately, some take equality to the extent of give us everything so that we dominate males.
              I do not think that daycare is something the business should have to pay for. You should be PREPARED to have a child, and not already knowing of a neighbor or a daycare center in the area is a serious lapse in judgement. But who am I but a senior in highschool. I say it as I see it.
            • by Old Benjamin (1068464) on Friday April 20, 2007 @11:32PM (#18820769)
              Equality these days essentially means that one group is given an unfair advantage over another: It might be women who expect to work fewer hours and get the same pay, or it is things like affirmative action. In both those cases, and others , the action is self defeating: if the group demands help to be equal it undermines the cause because it doesn't make them equal, it just gives them an unfair advantage over others, and admits that the group being helped is lesser because they need help.
            • If women want freedom and equal rights, then they have to grow up. Equality does not mean self-entitlement, and liberation cannot be just a convenient excuse for unbridled narcissism. Men and women should be equal partners in this world, but such a lofty goal can only be achieved if women start acting like equal partners -- that is, giving instead of constantly demanding and taking.

              Although I don't necessary agree with many of your premises, nor your conclusion, I do agree with that particular statement (well, not the generalization that all women today are necessarily "constantly demanding and taking," and I think the tone is a bit strident -- did you just get out of a bad divorce or something?).

              I think the people who get screwed worse than just about anyone, under our current system, are the women who really want to compete on a level playing field; either they get hobbled, or they get tossed crutches they don't need and don't want (and which cause them to be discriminated against).

              An easy example of this is with child-care policies at work. Some workplaces have very biased policies surrounding parenting; they have maternity leave without any corresponding paternity or adoption leave, etc. What this does is make women, in general, much less attractive employees to lower and middle management. If you're taking on someone into a management or competitive career track (think junior partners in big law firms), who are you going to pick: the male employee, who's going to work his ass off, and then work his ass off some more, or the female employee, who's going to work her ass off, but then quite possibly go take six or nine months off to have a kid, and then only want to come back on a reduced schedule? It's a no-brainer, and this is why there's a culture of discrimination in many of those workplaces.

              The people who this really hurts, though, are the women who aren't interested in having children, and aren't going to ever exercise their maternity leave, and are going to work the same 60-hour weeks for as many years as their male counterpart would, and not expect any quarter on account of sex. They really get hosed, because they get discriminated against without any good reason, due the cultural stereotype that all women want to be nurturing mother-figures, when there are definitely women out there who have zero interest in it.

              I've met a lot of aggressive, careerist women in my life, and a whole lot of them are pretty bitter that they always get pigeonholed in the "so when are you going to get pregnant?" box. Conversely, I've met a few men who are pretty clearly looking to be primary caregivers and bitter about the flack they get for asking for child-care and leave, or for not being as aggressively career-oriented as others around them. So it cuts both ways.

              I think there are really two fair solutions: you can make all policies gender-neutral, and encourage male employees to take the same sort of leave, when they're adopting or their partner is pregnant, that a female employee would take for a pregnancy, so that in hiring or placing people, managers can't just assume that "male employee = no leave" and "female employee = leave" (although if you have more female employees taking leave, then you'll still have discrimination). Or, you pick some sort of well-known, performance-based metric to do your advancement/firing based on, tell people they can take as much leave as they want, whenever they want, but if their performance suffers too badly, they'll get canned, and let the pieces fall where they may. Since I think the latter plan is probably illegal in the U.S. and other "pro-family" countries, I think we're stuck with the former.
              • by turtledawn (149719) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @11:41AM (#18824101)
                hear hear.

                I am so sick and tired of people asking when I'm going to have children. My former gynecologist - a FEMALE gyno- refused to even discuss the option of a hysterectomy with me despite my very firm decision not to have children and a family history of various cancers- because I would "change my mind about having children." Sorry, no. Even if I did, there's adoption.

                Now when people ask about kids I tell them I already have two- their names are Foucault and Raistlin, and they have adorable pointy ears and and fuzzy tails. Then I drag out the cat pictures. If my coworkers and every other person under the bleeding sun is going to make me look at their snotty brats they can bloody well look at my kittens.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by hxnwix (652290)
                There's really no getting around the fundamental problem: women are our only source of new people. Until all humans come from vats and are raised by robots, we will NEVER really resolve this issue.

                This issue produces conflict when the demands of creating and raising children require people to decide between maximum job performance and maximum child rearing performance.

                However, there is a sort of solution to this problem: hysterectomies. Women can get them in their 20's, when they still believe that it is
            • by solios (53048) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @04:01AM (#18821989) Homepage
              I'm fine with the whole "gender equality" thing. Men suck. Women suck. They just happen to suck differently.

              Case examples (which I've encountered on a monthly-to-weekly basis since around the time I hit that puberty thing: Men muttering (or bellowing) ZOMG WILL YOU LOOK AT THAT ASS?! or otherwise spluttering when some moderately pleasant whatever walks past. I'm a guy, and I find that shit disgusting. Stop it. Women getting pissy and grumpy and muttering (or bellowing) WELL I GUESS CHIVALRY IS DEAD, ISN'T IT?! when you don't hold the door for them, give up your place in line for them, or otherwise bend over backwards for them? You wanted equality, you got it. You can't have it both ways, lady.

              Aside, I think anyone who wants to be in the kitchen belongs in the kitchen. A good friend of mine is a far better house-husband (a "mister mom" if you will) than his wife ever was - he's a far better cook, he's much better with the kids, and he likes doing it. And his wife happens to be a far better wal-mart manager than he ever would be. Marxism on a micro-scale.

              A few thousand years on and society is still in the zits-and-rat turd mustache part of puberty. If we're still acting like this in a thousand years, then we definitely have a problem.
            • If women don't want IT jobs that require you to be on call literally every moment of the day, everyday, all year without some assistance, I think they're pretty smart.

              Yeah, yeah, "global economy means new requirements for business", "give the client their value's worth", etc... bullshit.

              America has one of the most -if not the most- unhealthy work ethic in world. The IT and web-tech fields reign as king among the most grueling professional jobs out there. When I was working contracts for several years, the v
          • by sumdumass (711423) on Friday April 20, 2007 @10:40PM (#18820395) Journal
            Well, I'm not sure at home work on certain things can be done let alone safe in some situations.

            Besides the cost of putting up the VPN stuff, Making sure there is high speed access to the Internet or a T1 directly to the building, you now have to worry about enforcing policies on a computer completly out of your site that could be used to compromise everything you spent the last ten year trying to stop from being on the Internet. Meijers does a lot of credit/debit transactions. Has quite a few employees spread across several states and then there is the problems of what needs fixed being part of what gives access to tele-commute.

            It is somewhat scary as well as flaky/inefficient in some situations. I cut an accountant from remote access once because the IDS started wigging out on some ports being scanned. Turns out, she used her family computer for work at home and was logged into the VPN when she walked away letting her kid go online. He proceeded to download some movies and game cracks from IRC networks and got scanned repeatedly by at least 20 different IPs . And yes, I logged the commands being typed, I know this was happening. I just don't know if it was her or her kid. And I had to go on site (35 min away) to block everything and figure out what was going on because the IDS locked everything out once the scanning attempts got so bad. The IDS probably has some anal policies but it was doing it's job and this was an accounting firm.
        • by superpulpsicle (533373) on Friday April 20, 2007 @10:21PM (#18820247)
          Most management folks overbook their "business" meetings on golf courses, and nobody can complain about it. Everytime there is an emergency, at least the managers should be on call with the technicians. It simply isn't fair on the IT workforce to have to do 24x7 because management doesn't want to hire a 2nd shift. Having One or two employees for the night is not going to ruin your finance.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by sumdumass (711423)
            Why should the management need to be there? They are paying you (the IT staff) to do the work. Not do the work themselves. If they had to be there, then there likely wouldn't be a need for you.

            On a side note, If I was manager and had to go in to babysit the IT staff during an emergency, I would probably be riding their ass for the system breaking. This could even be my fault because I haven't replace aging hardware or something. But I would still be riding you about it breaking and having to go in on my off
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by couchslug (175151)
            "It simply isn't fair on the IT workforce to have to do 24x7 because management doesn't want to hire a 2nd shift. Having One or two employees for the night is not going to ruin your finance."

            The reason they give you money to do a job is that it is a JOB, not "happy fun day". If you feel treated unfairly, be so capable that you can move on.

            As for women or anyone else bailing out of IT, those that stay should understand that their competition is leaving. The more people that do what you do, the less what you
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by CrankyFool (680025)
          Actually, management loves for people to work from home. They just don't like it being the way people work during the day.

          (The distinction is actually important -- I've only worked in one IT shop where remote access was tightly managed and most IT people didn't have it. If you work 8-10 hours a day on-site, mgmt doesn't have a problem with you going home and working again -- it's just that it's a bonus).
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 20, 2007 @10:15PM (#18820183)

        What happened to all those jobs in which you can work at home with?

        Companies realised that if people can work from home, it's cheaper if those homes happen to be located in India.

    • by SeaFox (739806)
      ...there's way too much information to decode a Mrs. Matrix. You get used to it, though. Your brain does the parsing. I don't even see the code. All I see is .blonde, .brunette, and .redhead. Hey uh, you want a drink?
    • by Plutonite (999141) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @12:05AM (#18820999)

      by GuyMannDude (574364)
      What a stupid name. Too bad she didn't get married to Jeff Matrix instead.
      GMD
      This post has been a announcement from the irony-hurts department.

  • I don't get it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Friday April 20, 2007 @09:45PM (#18819951)
    Why would companies want to attract people who aren't willing to accept the conditions of the job? If men in the same job are expected to be on call out of work hours, why should women get a free pass?

    I thought we were supposed to have sexual equality, not special treatment for women.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by keraneuology (760918)
      Special treatment for women IS equal treatment... after all, men always get special treatment, no?
      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by 0123456 (636235)
        The only 'special treatment' men get is in divorce courts where their wife is allowed to take the house, the kids, and most of their income for the rest of their life.

        If a man and a woman both apply for the same job, but the woman refuses to be on call out of work hours, why would any sane company hire her?
        • If a man and a woman both apply for the same job, but the woman refuses to be on call out of work hours, why would any sane company hire her?

          I think it's called affirmative action. Equal treatment would be allowing men to work the hours they need to be with their kids after divorce and vice versa.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by 0123456 (636235)
            "Equal treatment would be allowing men to work the hours they need to be with their kids after divorce and vice versa."

            Why should any company let their servers go down for hours because people with kids refuse to be on call to fix them?

            It's really that simple: someone has to be on-call to fix things that break if you're providing 24/7 coverage. It's a part of the job that people are hired for. If they can't do their job, they should find another one, not try to offload the work they're paid to do onto other
            • You didn't catch the "affirmative action" bit that answered your question? Anyways, the job I work at now had me in the position of being interviewed for a job, agreeing to those terms and two weeks later watching every single one of those terms turned on its head. The guy that hired me quit that day, otherwise I completely agree with you.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by killjoe (766577)
              Why don't the corporations man their data centers 24X7 or outsource?
          • by sumdumass (711423)
            No, affirmative action is going out and attempting to attract women or minorities to apply for the job. Maybe even creating positions that cater more to their needs. Hiring a woman over a man or a less qualified person over a qualified person (meeting the hour of the job requirements is a qualification)is called discrimination.

            If the job requirements are to be on call 24 hours a day 2 days a week, and work late if necessary on other day, then anyone not willing to do so don't meet the job requirements. They
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bogtha (906264)

        men always get special treatment, no?

        Yeah, whoever heard of men working long, inflexible hours? They get to go home early because they have penises, right?

        Seriously, if women are quitting the IT industry because of discrimination, that's one thing. But leaving because they don't want long, inflexible hours? Tough. Men have to put up with it. Why shouldn't women?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by nuzak (959558)
          > Men have to put up with it. Why shouldn't women?

          Men are as free to leave as anyone else. Women are just doing it more.
          • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Blkdeath (530393) on Friday April 20, 2007 @11:21PM (#18820687) Homepage

            Men are as free to leave as anyone else. Women are just doing it more.

            Yes, but men have children too. Is that the scapegoat?

            I'm getting mixed messages here. Women demand to become an equal part of the IT industry (the latest in a series of 'boys' clubs') so in they come. Now they're leaving because of the nature of the beast? IT == global == 24/7 requirements. Somebody has to keep the servers running, and somebody has to make the sandwiches.

            Here's an idea; let's make a new set of rules. You get hired based on your experience, qualifications, knowledge, education, and willingness to come to an accord as to the working conditions and requirements. Period. Forget the pigmentation of your skin, the tone of your accent, or the makeup of your chromosomes. If you're not cut out for the job - leave.

            Is this still news? Better still - why is this still news?!?

            • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Insightful)

              by alienmole (15522) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @12:42AM (#18821191)
              That's all very macho of you, but has it occurred to you to actually question the working environment that so many men are so obligingly putting up with? The news here could be "women are sensible enough to say no". (For the record, I'm a man, but not an employee.)
            • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

              by hazem (472289) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @12:58AM (#18821257) Journal
              I'm getting mixed messages here. Women demand to become an equal part of the IT industry (the latest in a series of 'boys' clubs') so in they come. Now they're leaving because of the nature of the beast? IT == global == 24/7 requirements. Somebody has to keep the servers running, and somebody has to make the sandwiches.

              The message I'm getting in all these posts is something like this:

              IT jobs treat people like shit. Women don't stay in the jobs because they don't put with up being treated like shit. Men say the women don't belong because they're not willing to be treated like shit - like they themselves are.

              So I ask... why should anyone put up with being treated like shit?

              It makes me so happy that I got into the company I'm currently working for. It's a fortune 500 company and everyone works their asses off. But people come and go when they need to/want to. People are always going to the gym to work out or going to volunteer for charities or meeting each other for coffee/beer in one of the several cafes on "campus". The company is always having large after-work parties, even bringing in bands like Dave Matthews; and they always have interesting guest speakers who are eminent in their fields, such as Peter Senge. It's so awesome to work for a company that really values me and wants me to be happy in my work and my home life.

              That said, I've never worked harder in my life - and I really enjoy it! If you (collectively) don't work for a company that values you, your happiness, and your well-being, you should try it sometime.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Lumpy (12016)
          the article is biased because of the source. I live in west michigan and all IT people Flee Meijer, Inc because it sucks to work there and they dont pay crap. They refuse to hire the number of people needed for the job there fore you are stuck driving 6-8 hours away at night to fix something at a pissant store because the manager of IT is too stupid to hire someone to cover that region.

          Almost everyone in Michigan knows that you dont work for Meijer in IT unless you are desperate. And then only for a shor
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by yali (209015) on Friday April 20, 2007 @09:55PM (#18820033)
      The question is, are women "required" as in required by company policy and/or the way the job is structured? Or required as in, it's a fundamental and inevitable aspect of the job?

      Think of it this way... What if an IT department didn't have women's bathrooms, because it was designed back when only men held IT jobs. So the job "requires" women to go to a different building to use the bathroom. If a women quits because she finds that annoying, it is literally correct to say that she isn't willing to accept the conditions of the job. But obviously no one would defend that situation.

      Back to reality... If it's the case that IT work schedules and conditions happen to have been designed by guys who didn't mind being on call, and the company could change its conditions to make it possible for women (or any employee who's a primary caregiver for kids) to have the job and be effective, then they should change. That's not special treatment for women. That's putting an end to arbitrary conditions that create, in effect, special treatment for young, single men. (Because I'd say that not having to compete with women for your job constitutes special treatment.)
      • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Insightful)

        by 0123456 (636235) on Friday April 20, 2007 @10:01PM (#18820071)
        "If it's the case that IT work schedules and conditions happen to have been designed by guys who didn't mind being on call, and the company could change its conditions to make it possible for women (or any employee who's a primary caregiver for kids) to have the job and be effective, then they should change."

        Why should people who don't have kids be expected to work extra hard to cover for the pampering of people who do have kids?

        Look, you're hired to do a job. If you can't or won't do it, find a different job... there are plenty of people who are willing to do the job that they're hired for.

        So I don't see what the problem is.
        • by krbvroc1 (725200)
          The problem is that the market is correcting itself. The consequence of the correction is that as a society we are valuing families less and causes women to switch to some other career. That other career might be less technical in nature and thus our nation is less competitive.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Hao Wu (652581)

          Why should people who don't have kids be expected to work extra hard to cover for the pampering of people who do have kids?

          Some parents don't admit to the value of their own kids. They act like their offspring are a handicap and not a blessing.

          The reason childless folks earn more is because they pay the price in loneliness - in childlessness.

          Unless you are going to invite coworkers to spend time with your kids and appreciate them, don't whine that others have it easy or "don't understand" your needs.

        • by max cohen (163682)
          Eh, the gist of the article was the work conditions for IT jobs were not appealing to many women and that women are leaving the field as a result, even though some companies and organizations WANT MORE women in those jobs and are trying to recruit more of them. It's not just women having kids, its the idea that you're never really away from the immediate, pressing needs of your employer and their demands, and that some women have said enough. So the female side of the IT work force might not grow, it coul
          • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Belial6 (794905) on Friday April 20, 2007 @10:47PM (#18820471)
            There you have it. The article could just as easily read, 'Women are at such and advantage, that they can afford to quite jobs because the hours are too long, or are too burdensome.' Nobody likes to be on call 24/7, and really, if it necessary for someone to be on call 24/7, your already screwed and don't know it. Now, I can understand why business wouldn't want women shunning them. After all, if I am an employer, I definitely don't want my pool of potential employees cut in half. What this really comes down to.. Is the cost incurred from cutting your potential employee pool in half, greater or less than the cost of implementing improved work conditions like telecommuting, flex hours, proper job coverage and or day care.

            Personally, I hope they choose that they want women in the workforce, and implement better work conditions to do it. While I do telecommute, I have turned down several gigs that would have paid noticeably more, so that I can be at home with my child. I will not, though, agree that the reason women are leaving is because they are at a disadvantage. Saying women are leaving IT because they are at a disadvantage is like saying that billionaires are not working at McDonalds because they are at a disadvantage. Those poor, poor billionaires, loosing out to those McDonalds jobs because of the unfair work environment.
        • Because civilization depends on having children. How many new workers entering the workforce will you have in 20 years? Well it depends on how many kids are born today. Workers, citizens, et al, have a 20 year pipeline. And yes we can import immigrants but how many? And can we assimilate them?
          You bitch about offshoring and H1-B visas. Well the solution is to have more kids. The ideal solution would have been to have more kids 20 years ago.

          Demographics is destiny. If you don't reproduce your world vi
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by AaronLawrence (600990) *
            Planning to get sued by WSJ?

            Blatant copy of
            http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?%20id=1100077 60 [opinionjournal.com]
          • just read this [slashdot.org] journal entry of yours.

            my how hyppocritical you are, comming from a political position with pundits like bill "STFU" oreilly, whose debate technique consists of shouting people down, and fox news, which apparently operates under the strategy of "speak a lie long enough and everyone will think its true". I think its time for you to actually read "lies and the lying liars who tell them" instead of WSJ's reviews of the book.

            I'll give you rational liberal arguments against conservatism major poi
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jarjarthejedi (996957)
        Back to reality an IT job does require time to be on call at all time. It's really a cut and dry case, servers/other important technology can break at any time and so people have to be on call to fix it at all time. It's much like power/water services, if your power goes out and you call the company (cell phone, before anyone complains about my analogy) you'd expect them to have someone ready to come out even if it was after normal hours wouldn't you? Same deal for IT.

        The on-call constraint isn't arbitrary
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by AuMatar (183847)
          24 hour support doesn't mean on call- it means you hire 3 shifts of people. SO no, there is no excuse for forcing people to carry a pager.
        • The new plumbers (Score:3, Informative)

          by michaelmalak (91262)

          It's much like power/water services, if your power goes out and you call the company (cell phone, before anyone complains about my analogy) you'd expect them to have someone ready to come out even if it was after normal hours wouldn't you? Same deal for IT.

          It didn't used to be that way. People say to me, "you have a master's degree -- why do you have to work odd hours?" I tell them it used to be that way, but since the Internet came along, my profession got downgraded to the equivalent of plumber -- a b

      • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hobbesmaster (592205) on Friday April 20, 2007 @10:08PM (#18820133)
        Of course... Women are completely incapable of taking jobs which require you to be on call most of the day - only young men can do that.

        That must be why nursing is dominated by young men. ;)
      • The thing is, I'd have to argue that in most cases I've seen, on-call and after hours work IS a fundamental aspect of the job. If important server X goes down at 2am someone needs to fix it asap. You could hire someone to work nights but most of the time there isn't actually enough work that needs to be done during those hours to justify paying another person. Due to the way business and life is scheduled you really need most or all of your staff there during the day (meetings, trainings, general communi
      • (or any employee who's a primary caregiver for kids)

        I appreciate that. Personally, I think the incentives for being on call should be improved. Before I had kids (and got divorced) I would regularly work 12-14 hour days 6 days a week, because I loved the money. Now my experience in the tech world seems to be that people on call are NOT compensated properly at all. The incentives/differential should prompt those that are capable to these jobs that demand more, unfortunately most IT jobs pay the same whether it's 9-5 or on call + 40hrs adjusted to eliminate

      • by shaitand (626655)
        'Think of it this way... What if an IT department didn't have women's bathrooms, because it was designed back when only men held IT jobs. So the job "requires" women to go to a different building to use the bathroom. If a women quits because she finds that annoying, it is literally correct to say that she isn't willing to accept the conditions of the job. But obviously no one would defend that situation.'

        I fail to see how that scenario has any relation to the current question.

        'That's putting an end to arbit
        • by nuzak (959558)
          > Why should a woman who has a little too much to drink gets knocked up be treated any differently?

          Maybe because a woman who has to care for a child shouldn't be required to justify the circumstances of the conception. Dumbass.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hazem (472289)
          If a man has a little too much to drink and gets in a skiing accident that will make him unable to work for 3 months there isn't even a guarantee of a job when he returns. Why should a woman who has a little too much to drink gets knocked up be treated any differently?

          Most localities in the US require this because as a society we value women having babies (even if she was drunk) more than we value men having drunken ski parties. How else are we, as a society, going to stave off those hoards of immigrants?

          B
    • by tomhudson (43916)

      Its not just one gender or the other ... its everyone.

      Everyone is fed up with strange hours

      Everyone knows that its getting harder and harder to fill advanced IT jobs.

      Things like "flex time" used to be "perks" - now they're mandatory if you're looking to fill a lot of positions.

      Weather's crappy? Telecommute. Stay in touch via email, phone, ssh, icq, forwarding X, etc.

      Already put in 40 hours or more over 4 days? Long weekend! (but if you're "on a roll" or "in the zone", accumulate the hours and post

    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ubergrendle (531719) on Friday April 20, 2007 @10:53PM (#18820517) Journal
      Essentially this will come down to a management problem. At some point, people will avoid IT as a career altogether. And when that happens, demand will go up for people, more money will be offered, and people will hold their noses and come back. In the late 1990s perks for IT were tremendous -- stock options, lots of vacation, huge bonuses. Now IT is treated like 3rd world labour...its a necessary evil for most businesses, they hold their nose and pay for it.

      If you've conditioned your workplace to disinterest women, you've effectively reduced your hiring pool by 50%. That's not a problem right now, but during the next industry crunch you'd f***ed. People management and staff retention is a strategic goal, not a tactical problem...too bad most of the industry right now is being managed quarter-by-quarter.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bushelpeck (1090329)
      As a woman in IT, I agree with your position on equality. It's difficult and discriminatory enough without the stigma of special treatment or double standards being hung over my head.

      I'm not on call 24/7 because I chose a job that doesn't require it. If I had I would either put up with it or quit for something I liked better.

      It's not just IT people who have tough time requirements, btw - where I work, many on the business side have to endure punishing travel schedules. They tend to be younger, single men ju
  • Dot Brunette? Seriously?

    Sounds like a veiled reference to Marlo Thomas. "Hey look! It's dot brunette again!"
  • by Jethro (14165) on Friday April 20, 2007 @09:47PM (#18819973) Homepage
    I am not a woman. And frankly, I would LOVE to flee my IT jobs, ESPECIALLY because of the whole being on-call 24 hours, and all the after-hours work, etc. Yeah, I can move into Management, but at the price of selling even MORE bits of my life away. Honestly, if I had ANY skills other than the pretty small niche of IT I'm in, I'd be fleeing, too.

    You ask me, women are fleeing IT because they're SMARTER.
    • by AgentUSA (251620) on Friday April 20, 2007 @10:24PM (#18820273) Homepage
      I'm also not a woman and I'm definitely planning on moving on and leaving IT after 10 years. Very long hours, unrealistic deadlines, lack of resources, bad management, and the 24/7 grind have completely sapped the enthusiasm I once had.

      I'll always be very interested in technology, but as far as my career goes, it's just not worth it anymore.
    • by SetupWeasel (54062) on Friday April 20, 2007 @10:39PM (#18820391) Homepage
      You ask me, women are fleeing IT because they're SMARTER.

      Let's be honest. It is much more socially acceptable for women to "choose family over work" or simply be dependent on family for sustenance. They have more freedom to turn down a job that they don't like. With the state of the economy in this country, men are more desperate for work, and therefore have less leverage to change the shitty conditions they work in.
    • by icepick72 (834363)
      I am not a woman.


      Now that you've finally admitted it you must feel a lot better. It'll get easier from here on out.

  • by Slugster (635830) on Friday April 20, 2007 @09:49PM (#18819997)
    I tend to wonder if this has more to do with women having higher employment standards than men do--I know in my current employer, it's consistently more difficult to find women willing to work night shifts than it is men.

    And FWIW, I got an assoc and had a couple calls for a networking tech positions.... part-time hours, and on call at times--like evenings and weekends.
    Ummm,,,,,, no thanks.
    Stuck trying to live off an $8/hr job with no way to even well consider a second job? Nope, forget it.

    I never did get a tech job. It was kinda a bummer at the time, but nowadays I don't worry about it that much.
    ~
    • by Qzukk (229616)
      and on call at times--like evenings and weekends.

      Stuck trying to live off an $8/hr job with no way to even well consider a second job? Nope, forget it.


      Agreed. If someone wants me on call, that time is on the clock because that's time I could have been doing something, except for the fact that I'm working.
  • by Giometrix (932993) on Friday April 20, 2007 @10:03PM (#18820091) Homepage
    Women and men are different, we just think different and enjoy different things. Men tend to enjoy playing with the latest and greatest toys, and IT lends itself to playing with the latest and greatest toys. I really don't see that in most women. That's not to say that many women in IT don't enjoy the work, but something tells me lots of women in IT got into the field in the late 90's when any joe schmoe (or in this case jane schmoe) in IT could make money. Now that there's not quite as much money flowing, there's much less of an incentive to stay in a career they weren't enjoying to begin with.
  • by alienmole (15522) on Friday April 20, 2007 @10:07PM (#18820129)
    So the problem is that women in IT are on call at all hours, which means that cellphones have a lot to do with this. But it goes deeper than that: cellphones are also causing honeybees to disappear [ttp]. Notice a pattern here?

    These women are obviously going wherever the honeybees went: obviously, a peaceful cellphone-free land, populated with women and bees, a land of milk and honey, one might say.
  • by tinrobot (314936) on Friday April 20, 2007 @10:12PM (#18820161)
    ...in IT jobs who've never seen a woman naked outside of an LCD screen.
  • I am in IT and I have to take on call. We rotate it. But we also get an extra bump when we are on call - whether we get called in or not. But sometimes we end up spending all night and all weekend having to fix stuff and that does get real old really fast. I had to miss my fiancee's sister's birthday because I was on call and got called in.

    Now, management sees the on call pay as an expense they would like to cut. When/if they cut it, I think the on call response is going to get a lot worse. A lot worse.
  • So, if we have a deficit of women in IT, how about we just give the H1-B's to women?
  • News Flash! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 20, 2007 @10:15PM (#18820189)

    You do not see a whole lot of women in the construction business either. Not stereotyping but women don't fight for jobs they don't care anything about. I would LOVE to see at least 50% women mixed in at every job stratum but face it..there are some jobs women don't give a shit about and would rather fight for other lucrative positions.

    I don't see an overwhelming majority of women fight for selective service either for that matter.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by westlake (615356)
      You do not see a whole lot of women in the construction business either.

      In 1997 about 150,000 women held non-traditional jobs in the construction industry, Women and Nontraditional Occupations [work4women.org] Production and craft work, operators and so on.

      But there isn't much incentive for women to enter a market where wages are depressed:

      Women posted a net increase of 1.7 million jobs paying above the median salary, while men gained a net increase of just over 220,000...according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics repo

  • by matthewcraig (68187) on Friday April 20, 2007 @10:17PM (#18820203)
    In other news, scientists finally prove women smarter than men. Film at eleven.
  • What kind of IT work require 24 hour on-call?
    • by SeaFox (739806)
      Email server admin, for one. Being available to react to a server of any sort paging you because its going down. I dated a woman who had a job administering an email server, and she got a call once late at night while we were having sex (No, she didn't answer it till later). It wasn't even a server paging her, it was the junior admin calling her because the spam filter was having some kind of issue that was causing email to be sent over and over again endlessly and he didn't know how to stop it.

      Being on cal
  • To quote Philip Greenspun:

    "Pursuing science as a career seems so irrational that one wonders why any young American would do it. Yet we do find some young Americans starting out in the sciences and they are mostly men... A lot more men than women choose to do seemingly irrational things such as become petty criminals, fly homebuilt helicopters, play video games, and keep tropical fish as pets (98 percent of the attendees at the American Cichlid Association convention that I last attended were male). Should we be surprised that it is mostly men who spend 10 years banging their heads against an equation-filled blackboard in hopes of landing a $35,000/year post-doc job?

    Having been both a student and teacher at MIT, my personal explanation for men going into science is the following:

          1. young men strive to achieve high status among their peer group
          2. men tend to lack perspective and are unable to step back and ask the question "is this peer group worth impressing?"

    It is the guys with the poorest social skills who are least likely to talk to adults and find out what the salary and working conditions are like in different occupations. It is mostly guys with rather poor social skills whom one meets in the university science halls...

    What about women? Don't they want to impress their peers? Yes, but they are more discriminating about choosing those peers. I've taught a fair number of women students in electrical engineering and computer science classes over the years. I can give you a list of the ones who had the best heads on their shoulders and were the most thoughtful about planning out the rest of their lives. Their names are on files in my "medical school recommendations" directory."

    - Women in Science [greenspun.com]

    • by bky1701 (979071) on Friday April 20, 2007 @11:58PM (#18820961) Homepage
      I think that this guy is overlooking a few things to make an anti-male statement.

      I am male and am interested in engineering, computers and math. Why? Not because I am trying to impress people, but because that's my skill. I am good at fixing things and seeing how things are supposed to work and like to do that. If I wanted to impress people I'd become a jock, not a nerd. I do what I do because I like it.

      On the other hand, most women I have seen dislike their jobs and do them just to make money. They are mainly interested in social activity for pleasure, while men tend to be interested in accomplishments in their jobs (be it working for a company or just trying to do something no one else has).

      Therefore, it's understandable why men would stick to a field they like, even if it is inferior, where women would go to something else just because it pays more and expects less. They already don't care what they do.

      Then again, I only got this from observations, and I have seen many exceptions, this just seems to be the norm.
  • So men and women are different and should be treated accordingly right? But also be treated equally? So we should embrace diversity while simultaneously demanding equality? I guess that's why there are rarely 'deadbeat moms' in the news or 'crack-whore dads'.

  • sigh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pak9rabid (1011935)
    What is the big f'ing deal with the whole "lack of women in the IT industry" fad? Why doesn't the hair salon industry get this much publicity for it's lack of men working in it? Seriously, it's stupid. Women do what they're good at, and men do the same. Everyone meets in the middle eventually in executive and management land.
  • by femto (459605) on Friday April 20, 2007 @10:52PM (#18820511) Homepage

    A number of my friends with children are looking to get out of the drudgery of abandoning their families for 60% of their waking hours.

    These are the people working a 55 hour week in a "9 to 5" job, with an hour of commuting each way. They are typically engineers or other professionals working in jobs where technology companies demand that the product be in the market yesterday. Their (ex) colleagues have been "downsized" and the company is too tight to employ replacements or there just aren't the qualified people out there. Consequently they are each doing one and a half jobs. Flexible hours policy is "We don't mind what hours you work as long as the job gets done", which translates to "55 hours".

    These friends are figuring out that they are missing out on being part of their family growing up while earning 2-3 time the average wage. Often they are concluding that they are better to move to a part time job, earn a little above an average wage and be part of the family growing up. If the change requires a change of employer or profession then they are prepared to do it. When pushed the better employers realise that they are better to have a part time expert than no expert.

  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Friday April 20, 2007 @11:25PM (#18820727) Journal
    I saw an article by a woman talking about why women are paid less than men. She figures it is because women go for the quality of life jobs while men go for the money. Women will take lower paying jobs with higher job satisfaction, better hours, etc. while men will kill themselves for the big buck.

    No surprise that women are leaving IT when the jobs suck more and more.
  • by Chris Daniel (807289) on Friday April 20, 2007 @11:43PM (#18820843) Homepage
    This was my fault. I'll take more showers.
  • by TheLink (130905) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @01:43AM (#18821451) Journal
    "An alarming number of women are currently abandoning IT jobs that require workers to be on-call at all hours,"

    I think it's only alarming if the number is zero ;). After all, how many people actually like such jobs? And how much do such jobs pay? So to me it's a good sign that women are finding better things to do with their lives than being "on call" just to make the 1-2% rich (who own 50% of the wealth) richer.

    And what's with everyone trying to encourage women to move into IT, when:
    1) Most women aren't interested in the first place
    2) The jobs aren't valued highly by Management and tend to get outsourced.
    3) The jobs aren't that _wonderful_ in terms of pay, security etc. (They're ok if you actually like IT stuff a lot, but see 1) )
    4) An "alarming number" are moving out. ;)

    From the article:
    "I had a 14-year-old daughter that I didn't want to leave alone at 3 a.m.,".

    Oh wow, an alarming number of women have got their priorities right?

    Compare this with:
    "I have to babysit these flaky 24/7 app servers at 3 am"

    It better be something like a wonderful charity's donation server at say "tsunami time" for you to have a greater chance of being proud of doing that at the end of your life, when you choose to do that instead of being able to have normal hours and thus spend more time with your kids (and try to brainwash them before MTV etc do).

    Whereas if it's just to make a bunch of Machiavellian rich guys richer and more powerful, you better know what you are doing and why.

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