Women in Tech: The search for Talent, Access & Power
Updated: May 1
With years 30 of covering tech and keeping the consumer and commercial relevance of tech in our society, one hard fact remains clear: Women in tech can make a world of difference when given the opportunity. The jobs are evolving and new innovations are redefining the tech industry. Yet there is untapped talent from a wide range of women professionals who still get over looked far too often. We don't need stats to prove it, but we've got them just the same.
The already-significant gender imbalance in the tech industry has grown even more over the last couple of years, with nearly half of women technologists saying they are outnumbered by men in their workplace by a four-to-one ratio.
WOMEN IN TECH PROFILES
According to Forbes, Swedish engineering physicist Elina Berglund completed her PhD at CERN where she was searching for the elusive Higgs boson particle. After its discovery in 2012, Berglund turned her attention to family life and sought to find an alternative to the contraceptive pill.
Berglund created an algorithm to identify the fertile window in a woman's cycle and cofounded fertility tracking app Natural Cycles in 2013. Natural Cycles is now used by more than 900,000 people in more than 200 countries. It has raised $37.5 million to date.
The new 2023 Women in Tech report, released by cloud-based educational technology company Skillsoft (NYSE: SKIL), found that 45 percent of women technologists say they are outnumbered by men in the workplace by 75 percent or more, a significant increase from the 25 percent who said the same in 2021.
This reported gender disparity is even more pronounced at the executive and senior levels of leadership. Skillsoft’s recent IT Skills and Salary research found that among technology professionals with at least 26 years of experience, 15 percent of men hold executive-level positions compared to just 4 percent of women. Meanwhile, nearly 30 percent of female technologists are reporting dissatisfaction with their current growth potential and 36 percent are considering leaving their jobs due to a lack of equity in opportunities.
These stats should highlight opportunities in tech for women:
Income inequality compared to male colleagues, workplace gender bias and a shortage of female role models are among the main barriers faced by women working in the tech industry. A lack of role models can also lead to a feeling of isolation and discouragement.
Following leadership and management, female technologists are most interested in upskilling in analytics, AI, and machine learning; project management; and cybersecurity. This aligns with critical business needs, as cybersecurity and AI and machine learning are among the top three priority areas of investment for organizations.
Women’s share in the technology industry grew 6.9% from 2019 to 2022, according to a Deloitte report; “share” in its methodology refers to the percentage of the overall workforce at large technology companies — i.e., those with an average of more than 100,000 workers.
Deloitte’s analysis and predictions found that 32.9% of the technology workforce were women in 2022, many of them in technical and leadership roles. In the technology, media and telecommunications industry in North America, 25% of board seats were held by women in the 2022 projections, Deloitte said.
Despite the poor optics, the need for qualified engineers has never been stronger. And, because of the imbalance in gender representation, companies want to hire qualified female candidates, making it the perfect time for women to confidently enter the space.
The lack of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields is a systemic problem that starts as early as preschool, when girls are steered away from the more “masculine” subjects like math and science, according to research from the American Association of University Women. In fact, women make up a mere 28 percent of the STEM workforce, its research found.
By the time they reach college, women are significantly underrepresented in STEM majors. For instance, only around 21 percent of engineering majors are women and around 19 percent of computer and information science majors are women, according to the AAUW.
Women who do end up in STEM fields are nearly twice as likely than women in other industries to say they are considering leaving the workforce, for reasons such as stress/burnout; seeing others getting promoted ahead of them; not being paid fairly; and a lack of diversity at their company, according to a recent survey by MetLife.