Work-life balance: a case of female information and communication technology professionals at a telecommunications company.
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An organisation’s ability to operate effectively depends on how well it pays attention to its most important resource, its human resource. In South Africa, great strides have been made to redress past injustices which resulted in a skewed workforce. Statistics SA (2019) quarterly population reports estimate that females outnumber males in the South African population, but the workplace indicates the opposite. This study’s primary objective was to explore the work-life balance experiences of female Information and Communications Technology (ICT) professionals in a telecommunication work setting. The study’s theoretical framework was the Life Course perspective by Giele and Elder (1998), and Border Theory by Clark (2000). To extract data required for analytical purposes a mixed methodology which utilises quantitative and qualitative methods was used. Using a purposive sampling technique, a sample of 50 female ICT professionals was chosen for the quantitative study. This was done using an online survey of GoogleTM Drive Forms, and analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences 26. For the qualitative study, 16 semi-structured interviews were conducted using thematic analysis with the Atlas.ti version 8 analysis software’s aid. The quantitative data collection phase indicated that employees were aware of policies and programmes in place, addressing work-life balance at Telkom. Results from the qualitative phase exploring the respondents’ experiences in terms of occupational interpretations of work, domestic interpretations of home, and interpretations of work-life synergy, revealed that professional females, regardless of their cultural background, experienced similar pressures and challenges. The study contributes to the body of knowledge as there has been a paucity of studies conducted on South African Information and Communications Technology female professionals. This study resulted in a work-life balance framework that links the Life Course perspective by Giele and Elder (1998) and Border Theory by Clark (2000), making a novel contribution to the empirical body of work-life balance.