The Tech Industry Gender Gap will Continue to Grow if Leaders Don’t Make Changes

Tek Experts -

4 min read

Five women in tech with arms folded

Much of the lack of diversity in technology careers can be easily explained by population distribution. Not when it comes to women. While women represent more than 50% of the world’s population and 48% of the workforce, they still only hold 25% of the world’s technology industry jobs. Lack of women in leadership is even more striking. In fact, out of all Fortune 500 companies in 2020, only 37 CEOs were women.

For a full breakdown of the current gender diversity trends of the tech industry, check out our eBook, Diversity and Inclusion in the Tech Industry.

Female Representation in the Tech industry has Gotten Worse

While so many industries are making progress towards greater diversity, equity, and inclusion for women, the tech industry has yet to do so.

Looking at employment since the technology boom of the 1990s, the proportion of women holding tech jobs has decreased, and female enrollment in computer sciences education has fallen.

There is clearly much to be done to remove remaining barriers for women wanting a career in tech and reducing the gender gap has many more benefits than merely increasing the diversity score of a business.

Diversity Improves the Employee Experience

Not enough companies realize how enabling diversity is better for women workers and their employers. When employees trust they’ll be treated fairly regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation or age, they are 5.4 times more likely to want to stay longer with their employer. And when it comes to work performance, companies with high gender diversity outperform those with low diversity by as much as 48%.

This is especially true when those women are in management. That same study found that companies scoring higher in gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability.

It’s not just profits that rise. Women in management play a crucial role for fostering a more supportive work environment and increasing employee wellbeing. According to McKinsey, both male and female employees are more likely to report that female managers provided them with emotional support, checked on their overall wellbeing, or helped navigate work-life challenges.

Representation matters: A Lack of Women in Leadership Means Fewer Role Models 

While women are slightly better represented at the world’s leading tech companies than the tech industry average when it comes to women in management positions (32% vs. 25%), progress overall is slow, and our industry continuously struggles with a shortage of qualified women to fill technical positions.

Data shows that women hold fewer than 20% of leadership positions in the tech industry; only 19% of senior vice presidents and 15% of CEOs in the US tech industry are women (and only 3% globally.)

These low numbers lead to fewer role models and a study of students in the UK showed that only 17% of female respondents could name a tech role model compared to 41% of male respondents. This is a deterrent for many young women considering joining the IT field.

How can our Industry Progress?

A key to fixing the shortage of female tech candidates is encouraging more women to take up studies in STEM and IT-related majors, addressing the invisible barriers that prevent women and diverse people from choosing and succeeding in tech careers, and amplifying the voices of women in tech to increase representation.

It takes time for student participation rates to translate to workforce participation as skilled professionals, but it’s already happening. According to Zippia, Women hold 44% of STEM-related bachelor’s degrees as of 2022.

This is great progress but there is still work to be done. Here are the top 10 ways companies in the tech industry can encourage more women to join the tech workforce:

Many of these initiatives involve increasing representation of women in the industry. However, for long-term change in making IT careers more accessible to women, tech companies must operate with diverse and inclusive cultures and the industry as a whole needs to provide more digital skilling opportunities for women and other groups that lack diversity in this field.

Gender Diversity in Action

Tek Experts is a proud partner of Microsoft Leap, a program that’s addressing the skills shortage and low representation of women in IT by providing digital skilling to women in countries across the world. From 2019 to 2022 more than 75 women participated in the 16-week program in Tek Experts Nigeria, Rwanda, and Bulgaria. We will continue partnering with Microsoft Leap in 2023 and look forward to skilling even more women in the future as we continue to expand the program.

“Tek Experts’ intention and support with Microsoft Leap has enriched our shared communities, preparing talent with the skillsets they need to effectively contribute.”

– Chun Lu, Co-Founder, Microsoft Leap

Want to Learn More About the Benefits of Diversity for Your Business?

Download our Diversity and Inclusion in the Tech Industry eBook.

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