October 11, 2016
The vast majority of people working in technology are men, but there are plenty of opportunities for women to build a career in IT. The US Census revealed that, at major tech companies such as Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, women make up about 30% of employees, with women representing 22% of the leadership roles and comprising roughly 15% of employees within technology departments.
The question is: why don’t we see more women working in technology or IT? There are many theories as to why there aren’t more women working in this industry which include what girls are taught to be compared to what boys are taught growing up, as well overall low levels of interest in technology careers in girls. So, how can more women be encouraged to pursue a career in technology?
Attracting and Retaining Women
In order to empower women in technology, we need to capture the attention of more women about the technology industry as there is a growing demand for women in these roles, as well as many opportunities for advancement. According to ComputerWorld, companies are making an effort to hire more women for their technical roles to help close the gender diversity gap by analyzing their gender diversity reports and using gender-neutral language on job descriptions that appeal to women. The article also suggests that organizations can attract and retain women in their IT departments by offering mentorship opportunities and building communities for women in IT.
Ultimately, we need to eliminate the traditional mindset that technology is a man’s field of expertise. Women are just as capable of working in IT as men and teaching this earlier rather than later will encourage more women to find roles in technology, which is why organizations who seek to introduce young girls to the fields of technology are so important. Girls Who Code is an example of such an organization, and their goal is to “close the gender gap in tech” by offering coding programs to girls in middle school and high school across the US. In the last two years, these programs have driven thousands of girls to learn how to code, while inspiring them to pursue college degrees in computer science.
CIO.com reported on survey results conducted by Pluralsight and Women Who Code and found that confidence and working in an environment dominated by men is often what holds many women back in their IT careers. These are interesting results as the tech industry is trying to hire more women for job openings, yet we’re still seeing that men make up most of the IT workforce. One of the reasons could be that fewer women apply for these roles, which decreases the likelihood of women being hired in the first place!
There are many organizations that strive to attract more women to the IT industry and we, at York Solutions, happen to be one of them. We’ve recently launched a service called the Barriers to Entry (B2E) Program which aims to empower under-represented individuals, with a primary focus on women and veterans, to begin a career in IT. This program is for those who are looking to re-enter the workforce after taking time off, as well as those who are looking to make a career change. The program provides participants with the tools needed to learn (or freshen up) projectmanagement skills, while also offering mentorship, professional development, and job opportunities to participants.
Empowering women to enter the IT workforce will be an ongoing effort, and it begins by removing the stereotype that technology is a “boys club.” As we know, women can, and do, thrive in the field of technology and we can help close the gender diversity gap by empowering them to consider technology as a career path starting at a young age. And, in the workplace, both women and men who are currently in IT can have a significant impact by mentoring women who are newer to the industry by providing them with a sounding board and advice, which will help them be successful and determine the path they’d most like to take within the IT industry.
What do you think can be done to provide more opportunities for women in technology?
Posted By: Jaclyn Roman
November 11, 2016 1:44 PM
What do you think can be done to provide more opportunities for women in technology? I think our resumes/past experience needs to be scrutinized more carefully and with a mindset of the day-to-day tasks in our past experience. As a college student studying MIS while working in technology full time, I came back to the workplace with ideas to brainstorm and implement, and my ideas were not even considered. I felt it was because I was female. I think female employees working in clerical and call center environments, an using data entry skills every day are the ideal candidates for database administrators and database managers. Who best to see the need for changes than the end user.
Posted by: Debby Paulseth