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Gender balance in the workplace

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The ICT sector has not always enjoyed the best reputation as far as gender equality is concerned. But this perception is changing – and quickly – say those operating successful businesses in the ultra-competitive world of IT.

There are more women entering the industry and being recruited into senior positions than ever before says Robert Sussman, joint MD at Integr8 IT.
According to Sussman, who operates South Africa’s largest privately owned national BEE ICT network integration and infrastructure management specialist, this is an encouraging trend that bodes well for the sustainability of the industry.
“There is a definite need for more ICT-focused skills in the market and women are playing a critical role within initiatives established to address this need. The integration of fresh skills into the workplace and the increase in opportunities for individuals who may have been overlooked in the past, can only strengthen the industry,” adds Sussman.
“At the same time, though, the suggestion that women are only now starting to impact on the industry is simply not true. The fact is that the industry has not always demonstrated the same level of appreciation or opportunity to women that are quite extensively afforded to men. The fundamental barrier being the serious misconception that men and women have differing capability regarding anything technology based,” he continues.
Sussman describes the advanced ICT services provider operation as ‘young, dynamic and progressively positioned’ in its management style and approach.
“Aside from adherence to equal opportunity and corporate governance, Integr8 IT is also acutely aware of the role that modern IT practitioners play in building up businesses and in critical delivery of services. This is completely different to traditional HR management practice and the premise of our operation is that individuals work hard in a comfortable, user-friendly and professional environment,” he says.
Tami Milwidsky, a co-founder and Regional Director at Integr8 IT, supports this viewpoint.
“Working for a modern ICT-focused company is a challenge. Service and delivery is consistently being scrutinized, forcing decision makers to be vigilant, tenacious and strategic in their thinking,” adds Milwidsky.
“If one reflects on the role that women now have in South Africa’s socio-economic development, an opportunity such as this is both individually empowering, but also shows the company is in line with modern global HR practices,” she adds.
Integr8 IT’s executive management says that the appointment accurately reflects the continued growth, maturity and direction of the company.
“There is no doubt that Integr8 IT has a mature foothold in the business community and interacts with an innovative, dynamic and professional approach. Its rapid development and solid standing in the market can be attributed to adherence to leading current and emerging trends within the modern technology sector.
"The fact is that women are playing a bigger role in the direction and strategy of companies. They are more prevalent at executive level in IT than was the case before,” comments Sussman.