Say ‘tech,’ and the images that come to mind are of a bespectacled Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or even Mark Zuckerberg.
Despite the whole world screaming themselves hoarse about gender equality, tech continues to be a male-dominated field. Making it challenging for women to climb up the career ladder.
However, with the tech industry expanding women now have more opportunities.
To put matters in perspective, let’s give you some background and statistics, along with a few pointers for smoother career growth.
Women In Tech Statistics
The figures improved over 2018 and 2019 when the percentages stood at 25.9 and 26.2%, respectively.
So it’s definitely possible to progress in tech by upgrading your skills and staying abreast of the latest developments in the industry.
Here are some more industry statistics.
Yet, the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic has significantly affected women, found a study by business technology reviewers TrustRadius. Out of the women surveyed, 57% admit to feeling more burnt out at work than 36% of male respondents.
Moreover, the study also found lockdowns have forced over 40% of women to do additional housework compared to 11% of men.
Is There a Gender Pay Gap in Tech?
While the workload for women in tech may be equal or, in some cases, more than their male colleagues, the pay scale paints a different picture.
Globally, women earn less than men in almost every field.
While discouraging to see these disparities, there is another emerging trend that’s more optimistic. Business schools, which have long been dominated by men, are witnessing a steady rise in the number of female applicants. In the USA alone, the ratio of women in MBA programs increased from 32% in 2011 to 39% in 2019. Moreover, 60% of business schools worldwide reported a rise in women applicants in 2020. In fact, Wharton, one of the top b-schools in the world, recently admitted more women than men to their program. Quite a feat for a school that didn’t even allow women to enroll until the 1950s. Why does it matter? The median salaries for MBA graduates are 75% more than those with just a bachelor’s degree — a rising tide in female applicants is certainly a step in the right direction.
Students in Quantic School of Business and Technology will likely witness a 23% jump in median salary within six months of graduation.
Why Are Women Underrepresented in Tech Jobs?
Given the pay disparity and ingrained biases against women, it’s no surprise that the field of tech has a skewed gender ratio. Several surveys conducted by independent organizations have identified the following hurdles to women’s progress in tech:
- A pervasive ‘bro culture,’ according to TrustRadius findings
- Gender bias leading to a lack of confidence in their abilities and barriers to promotion
- Racial discrimination towards women of color
- Lack of mentorship and absence of clear ways forward in their careers
- Significant pay disparities
- Rigid working conditions in terms of location and hours
Women in Tech Scholarship
The rise in women applying to business schools has also led to increased scholarship opportunities for women.
While some new scholarships focus specifically on women business owners and women in specific roles and fields, Quantic awards a scholarship specifically dedicated to women in tech — the Leadership Award for Women in Tech.
Regardless, pursuing an MBA is a significant financial investment. That’s why Quantic’s 13-month online executive MBA and MBA degrees have unique fee structures that enable our low tuition. And many students attend free of cost through employer funded reimbursements.
How to Recruit Women in Tech Jobs
To date, only 5% of leadership positions in tech are held by women. There are just 3 women CEOs in Fortune 500 companies.
Over the last two decades, the tech industry has been actively encouraging women to choose and stick to careers in the field.
Yet, with company policies often failing to account for women’s needs, finding and retaining female staff is a challenge.
The tech industry must focus on prioritizing certain aspects of jobs to appeal more to women. For instance, a woman with children will be interested in a position that allows flexibility and lets her work from home.
Research suggests that a few simple changes to the hiring process and work environment can help bridge the gender divide, and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) agree.
Some basic steps to help companies hire and retain worthy women include:
- Having more women in hiring panels
- Ensuring equal average base pay irrespective of gender
- Conducting mandatory unconscious bias prevention training
- Providing mentorship and learning opportunities for women
- Promoting more capable women to leadership positions
- Allowing flexible work cultures and family-friendly policies
- Making women visible and their opinions heard
Recruiters can also reach out to us for access to our updated database of motivated, high-performing graduates.
What Advice Would You Give to Women Looking for Jobs in Tech?
For women who’ve made their mark in the world of tech despite the many hurdles, the road has been a learning curve. Five pearls of wisdom they’ve picked up over the years and would love to share with the next line of women in the community are:
- Network, network, and network
- Continue to develop your skills
- Radiate confidence and stand your ground
- Seize every opportunity
- Pass on the legacy
Network, Network, and Network
Personal connections are crucial to getting opportunities, especially in a competitive industry like tech. Interact with as many people as you can, attend industry events, and be involved in peer groups.
Networking can sometimes come across as a transactional and uncomfortable pursuit. Especially for those who are reserved and introverted. However, research has found that investing sincerely in relationships pays off in due time.
People won’t think twice about supporting a sincere woman, and when you’ve ardent supporters, the world is yours to take.
Survey findings also suggest that women who’ve built successful tech careers have had peers back their ideas at brainstorming sessions and ensure they receive due credit.
Over 50% of senior women executives in tech also say their peers were instrumental in helping them secure jobs and connect with industry leaders.
Continue to Develop Your Skills
When trying to make headway as a woman in tech, your skills are your greatest asset. Successful women in STEM have broadened their horizons beyond the scope of their designations and job descriptions.
Honing existing skills and building new ones outside your niche opens up a host of possibilities. It helps you think outside the box and inspires game-changing ideas.
Quantic’s innovative approach to business education marks the beginning of creative thinking for students. They’re encouraged to develop their critical and analytical skills by asking questions and engaging in discussions.
Senior women in tech advise new entrants to learn to code, even if they don’t want to be developers. Understanding how coding functions will make employers at tech companies value you over your peers.
If you’re still testing waters and haven’t figured out what skills you’d like to pick up, make it a point to be good at whatever you do.
Radiate Confidence and Stand Your Ground
In the male-dominated tech industry, women’s confidence often takes a beating from biases and implications that they’re less likely to succeed. People have gone as far as to suggest that ‘innate’ gender differences make women less suitable for STEM careers.
Women often feel ignored at work, are frequently spoken over at meetings, and even robbed of their ideas. In a field where ideas spark change and are key indicators of contribution, women must stand their ground and claim credit when due. Quantic alumna Amy Dalton offers powerful advice around women speaking up about their accomplishments. Amy is a Senior UX Designer at GE Aviation and a major advocate for bringing more women into tech fields. She started a program at GE, Bragging Rights, after learning that men are 4x more likely to ask for a raise than women. The program teaches and encourages women to speak up about their strengths, ideas, and accomplishments. What started in her local GE office, is now being taught at GE in offices around the world and is expanding.
Like Amy, successful women in the tech industry insist on speaking up when necessary. Taking a stance for themselves and tactfully handling difficult situations has helped them make their mark. This is why they advise the next generation of women in STEM to do the same.
Besides, they also insist on empathetic communication, active listening, and effective collaboration as team leaders.
Seize Every Opportunity
Given the challenges they face, women are often afraid to speak up or volunteer for work. Nothing is more detrimental to progress than letting opportunities pass you by.
Senior women tech executives admit to having moments of doubt, but their breakthroughs came when they convinced themselves of their capabilities. They’re proactive in seeking opportunities that spur personal growth and help drive the organization forward.
Women leaders in STEM strongly advocate the demonstration of accountability by stepping up to solve problems. Often, this helps them build new skills, keep themselves relevant and contribute to the greater good of the teams they lead and the people they serve.
Nearly 80% of women feel they’ve to work significantly harder than their coworkers to make their mark. This means an increased workload every time they choose a new opportunity.
That’s where Quantic’s executive MBA grads have the edge over their peers. The program allows students to earn a world-class education while working full-time jobs, effectively training them to handle multiple responsibilities in the process.
Pass On the Legacy
Most women who’ve been successful in tech have mentored or sponsored someone at their companies or in their fields. They’re genuinely interested in seeing their protégés flourish.
They’re also able to help the next generation of women identify their strengths and weaknesses, guide them towards more fulfilling job roles and give them constructive feedback.
Tech’s star ladies have found that reaching out and passing on their learning has earned them stellar reputations as leaders who groom great talent. And in the process, they’ve ended up learning new skills that have helped them maintain their relevance.
As a woman looking to work in technology, you can benefit significantly from embracing and implementing these lessons in your lives. You should also read up about Quantic’s affordable online MBA that prepares students to deal with difficulties they might face at work and while running businesses.