Lesser women join the tech industry in business roles than men, and those that do feel less included that in any other industry. Do we have a solution?
Catalyst has recently published a report on the gender gap between employees in business roles in the tech industry, and the results, as expected, don’t shine a good light on these traditionally male workplaces.
First, a small note. Some of the most vaunted women business leaders from the past few years are those in business and leadership roles in the tech industry – be it Carly Fiorina, Marissa Mayer or Sheryl Sandberg. As a whole, the tech industry needs smart business-oriented women in roles of importance to grow. But this is also the industry where, just a week ago, Satya Nadella blamed karma for the lower wages earned by women; and where something as heinous as Gamer Gate has kept women away as participants.
The solution, in our opinion, is not so much to provide sops to women employees in the form of egg-freezing, or reservations or quotas, but to change the conversation around women in the workplace – to make them feel included at all levels, to encourage them to form their own business networks, and to change the conversation around the roles and responsibilities of parenting.
Easier said than done, right? But if this industry wants to attract talent (and consumers) from nearly 50% of the populace, it doesn’t really have any choice, does it?
Here’s what the study found:
Lesser women join the tech industry in business roles; and those that do often start at lower levels
- Among those who took their first post-MBA job in a tech-intensive industry in a business role, 55% women joined at entry level positions as opposed to only 39% men. (Not surprisingly, this meant there overall wages were also lower!)
- Only 18% of women opted for a business role in a tech-intensive industry immediately following completion of their MBA compared to 24% of men.
- Of those who start their careers following their MBA outside of tech-intensive industries, women were less likely than men to migrate other industries to tech- intensive industries.
More women leave the tech industry than men, and for very different reasons
- 53% of the women who started in the tech industry in a business role left it, as opposed to only 31% men.
- Women were significantly more likely than men to report leaving for a job in another industry for at least one personal reason, including wanting to make a greater social contribution, child rearing, family reasons other than child rearing, or their spouse/ partner being relocated ; whereas men were significantly more likely to cite reasons such as career advancement, more money starting a business or to make a career change.
Women feel less ‘included’ in the tech industry than in any other equivalent workplace
- Only 27% women in tech-intensive industries in their first post-MBA job said they felt similar to most people at work, as opposed to 49% in other industries.
- MBAs who took their first job in a tech-intensive industry in a business role were significantly more likely than those in other industries to work on a team with 10% or fewer women
- Women in tech industry were significantly less likely to have a female supervisor than in other industries, and had fewer female role models at the workplace.