Given how pervasive technology is these days, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there’s an equal split between men and women where employment in the technology industry is concerned. However, you’d be wrong.
New research from the Computing Technology Industry Association, featured by Fast Company, has found that at the end of 2015 over 5.1 million people worked in this sector – but just 25% of jobs were held by women. The results mirror our own findings, as our Talent Trends report on Digital Talent shows.
So what exactly are the reasons for this? Why do women appear to steer clear of tech when it comes to finding a job? The research revealed that it seems women opt out of this area of study pretty early on, deciding not to consider it as a subject somewhere between the ages of ten and 17. Exposure could be part of the reason – some 11% of boys start using gadgets aged five or younger, compared with 5% of girls.
Or it could be a lack of awareness that’s driving this apparent disinterest in the subject. It was seen that while almost half of boys have thought about a tech career, the same is true for less than a quarter of girls. However, 53% of girls did say that being given more information about their career options would encourage them to think about IT as a possible path.
Jeanne Meister of office consultancy Future Workplace told the news source: “What’s really shocking is that their consideration of an IT career decreases the older they get. That says to me, that they have intellectual curiosity about technology, but it’s beaten out of them between grammar school, and by time they get to high school.”
Interestingly, in the UK, research from Accenture has found that technology itself appears to be helping to close the gender gap across industries as a whole, as women are becoming increasingly digitally fluent by embracing digital technologies to become more connected, knowledgeable and effective.
Almost 5,000 men and women from 31 countries were surveyed and it was found that although men did outscore their female counterparts in digital fluency across the majority of the countries studied, the gap between the sexes is narrowing and digital fluency is acting as an accelerant in every stage of a person’s career.
It’s helping people to manage their time more effectively and as a result become more productive, while also enabling greater work flexibility. The study went on to suggest that if businesses and governments work to double the pace at which women become digitally fluent, then gender equality in the workplace could be reached by the year 2040 in developed countries and by 2060 in developing nations.
ORC has identified several case studies where tech companies have been able to improve their profitability and productivity by increasing the number of women in their leadership team. If you’re interested in finding out more about our research on the subject, please get in touch or you can find a sneak peek infographic here.
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