Women are under-represented in leadership roles…especially in the tech sector
We know that women are underrepresented in computing courses at schools, colleges and universities, so it’s no surprise they are underrepresented in tech sector leadership roles.
For those women that do decide on a well-paid career in tech, 50% leave before they are 35, so many don’t progress to leadership roles. Of course, this is a problem: diversity in decision-making is better and engineered products are more inclusive, plus women can miss out on high pay and status.
Why the drop out? Researchers found sexism to be the principal reason for leaving the sector. They say women encountered a hostile and unwelcoming climate. Research has also found that women either move away from technical work or adapt by becoming one of the boys to fit in with a masculine (bro) culture.
Our own research, however, found women in IT leadership positions had found work that chimed with their personal values. For example, they found satisfaction in helping end users. These are great jobs, great careers. So how do we prevent women leaving the sector?
Things that work
- inclusive and friendly job adverts,
- family friendly policies at work,
- inclusive work environments,
- mentors and role models.
If you are getting started in tech, don’t be deterred by job adverts, look for mentoring programmes, start social/ informal events at work (it doesn’t all have to be about beer and pizza).
If you are already a leader in tech, think about what you might be able to influence – and offer to mentor.