Chris Rowson, Managing Director, Ecardshack, asks why the tech sector is failing to close the gender gap
The gender gap in the tech sector continues to persist. The disparity between the genders at both executive and director levels has been brought further into the light in recent years, alongside the gender pay gap.
Despite a lot of progress at board level boardroom representation, it is still drastically uneven. Analysis of the numbers of women found in top tech positions reveals a common issue – a major gender disparity.
Women in tech sector will shrink over next 10 years
According to a report from Accenture and Girls Who Code, women in the computing workforce will shrink in the next 10 years unless immediate action is taken, and there has already been a huge 37% drop of women in tech since 1995. So, why are the rates of women in the tech industry falling?
Skills shortage could damage the economy
There were 500,000 new computing jobs in the US in 2015, but there were fewer than 40,000 new computer science graduates, and as a result, a call to action has been identified to triple the number of women in computing by 2025. The skills shortage will begin to damage the economy.
Schools and home have a major part to play
The report aptly named Cracking the Gender Code, recommends what needs to be done to spark interest in tech in girls throughout their important school years. Teaching girls from a young age, in both a school and a home environment, that computing is not just for boys is critical to addressing the drop of women in tech. Girls are 18% more likely to show interest in computing if they’ve been exposed to it in their school years.
Reshma Saujani, who founded Girls Who Code in 2012 to help close the tech gender gap, says that developing curriculum with girls’ interests in mind and teaching in ways that girls prefer—such as project-based work—is needed to keep them engaged. A lack of female role models in the technology environment is also reinforcing girls perceptions that a future career in the tech sector is not for them and is instead best left to the boys.
Men outnumber women by 3 to 1 in the Tech Sector
Tech Nation found that men outnumber women by a ratio of three to one within the tech sector, and big computing organisations need to evoke how technology is a force for good if they want to attract more females to the sector. It is one of those most iconic and pioneering industries and last year the tech sector grew faster than the UK economy, attracting £28bn in technology investment to the country since 2011.
The original Ladies and Gentleman of the Board graphic used the top 10 Fortune 500 rankings to determine top companies to reveal the difference in genders at a corporate level. Every year, the Fortune 500 ranks the top public corporations in the US by their gross revenue.
Following on from the original is the new Ladies and Gentleman of the Tech Boards piece by EcardShack, which steps into the tech realm to distinguish if the gender gap is just as relevant to this industry. Out of the top ten tech companies in the world, Cisco has the smallest gap in the ratio of men to women, with 43% of the executive board as female.
Tech giants not leading by example, Samsung has no females on the board, Intel has 2 and Apple has just 3
The technology giants are places of work that a lot of potential tech newbies will look up to in the early days of their own careers; these icons need to set the example and address their own male to female employee ratio. The tech giant Samsung is the worst culprit in the technology arena; there are no female executives and no females on the board of directors. At Apple, the disparity between the genders at the executive’s table is as equally astonishing. Out of 18 employees, only 3 are female. Intel are another company who have a gender dilemma. Only 2 seats on the director table belong to females, compared to 11 male employees. This is reflected further on the board of executives where 80% of employees are male.
These statistics are just another example of the barriers surrounding females in tech. The fight to close the gender gap once and for all starts by addressing sexism, the surrounding social stigmas and supporting the prospect of a career in tech in schools.
To ensure a confident future for women in the tech sector, as well as tackling talent shortages, the issue needs to be addressed.