The technology industry has generally not been the most welcoming for female employees. Whether it’s because women are discouraged from studying certain subjects at school, or due to discriminatory recruitment policies, technology has largely been a male dominated field. However, things are slowly improving and gender diversity is now a key concern for the industry, particularly regarding manager level positions.
Below, we’ve highlighted five of the top reasons why gender diversity in technology careers has started to improve.
Reasons for improved gender diversity in the tech industry
1. Performance benefits
Recent research on gender diversity in the workplace has shown that businesses that have women on their executive boards outperform those that do not. Having greater gender diversity is likely to see companies drawing on a wider range of ideas and points of view, which could provide a competitive advantage. The likes of Microsoft, Google and Apple now all have female board members, but more junior positions are also being filled by female employees. More still needs to be done across a broader section of IT jobs, but the business benefits of gender diversity are driving change at many firms.
2. Startup growth
The technology sector is one of the most fruitful when it comes to startup growth. Both Silicon Valley in the US and Tech City London are just two examples of thriving technology hotbeds. Crucially, without the inertia and bureaucracy associated with more established companies, startups can be much more encouraging of gender diversity. The number of female founders in the worldwide startup ecosystem has grown by 80 per cent over the last three years, showing the progress being made across the globe. With more women founding companies in the tech industry, it’s easy to see why gender diversity is heading in the right direction.
3. Culture Change
Attitudes to women in the workplace are changing, with equality movements being seen across all manner of industries. In IT, this culture change is making technology jobs more female-friendly than they might have been previously. Campaigns for equal pay and for recruiters to ensure a better balance between male and female employees is demonstrating that women deserve their place in the technology industry just as much as men. This culture change is resulting in improved gender diversity across a number of business, including tech firms.
4. Plugging the skills gap
Due to a lack of encouragement to study maths or science, which have traditionally been seen as “male subjects,” many women may not have had the skills required to thrive in the tech industry. However, this false dichotomy of male and female schooling is slowly being eroded, giving women the confidence to pursue their careers, no matter which industry they reside in. Last year, 50.4 per cent of girls who took the recently introduced Computing GCSE achieved the top three grades, compared to 43.8 per cent of boys* . With initiatives in place to further encourage girls to develop their technology skills, the gender gap will continue to shrink.
5. Tech role models
High profile female figures in the technology industry are on the rise, giving younger women something to aspire to. The likes of Marissa Mayer, the current president and CEO of Yahoo, and Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube, demonstrate that women can reach the upper echelons of the technology industry. Whereas previously the majority of technology role models were men, the achievements of female leaders in this field are helping to improve gender diversity at all levels of business.