Equality Streets: Women falling behind by 3 years in tech experience
Jobbio's Kirstie McDermott says the latest Women in Tech survey found women only account for just a quarter of those working in IT.
Studies conducted in both the UK and the US have found that children as young as six will rule out future career options for themselves based on views they’ve already internalised about the sort of jobs people do based on their gender.
In the UK, female participation in STEM subjects falters early: After GCSEs, only 35 per cent of girls choose to study STEM subjects, and this declines again with just 25 per cent of females choosing to study them at the university level.
It is hardly surprising then that women’s participation in tech, STEM and IT fields is lower too. According to 2023's Women in Tech survey, women only account for around 26 per cent of those working in IT.
The DESI 2022 report has also found that only one in three STEM graduates (and just 19 per cent of ICT specialists) are female. In the EU, men make up more than eight in 10 IT specialists.
This impacts across the whole tech sector. For example, according to a report from Women in VCs, less than 2 per cent of venture capital investments went to all female-led teams in 2021, and since 2018, all female-led teams in Europe have only gotten about 2.7 per cent of startup investment each year.
The report also found that only 15 per cent of general partners at VCs are female, and manage only 9 per cent of total assets under management.
Exploring the experience gap
More new research has now found a worrying “experience gap”, and that men lap women by almost three years of extra know-how. Women’s tenure in the tech sector is on average 11.3 years, whereas men’s comes in at 14.2 years.
“With that gap at almost three years, it’s not difficult to see how this impacts progression and access to those more senior and leadership roles, not only are there fewer of those positions available, but male tech professionals effectively have a head start in terms of their experience in the sector,” the study’s authors say.
“We know that women are under-represented at every level in tech, but what this new data really shows us is that there’s an experience gap at work for those women already in the sector,” they add.
The issue also manifests itself in what’s known as a “leaky pipeline”. A 2022 study from the UCD School of Economics found a “continuous process whereby women are more likely to exit STEM than men”.
When women have an undergraduate degree in a STEM subject, they are more likely to obtain a non-STEM Master’s degree. The study also found that once women are in the labour market, they gradually leave it during the first 15 years post-graduation, with the result that they are about 20 per cent less likely to work in STEM fields.
Gender-balanced companies are more likely to have better employee satisfaction, higher productivity, and increased innovation, which should be a motivating factor for any company looking to fulfil its DE&I commitments.
Accenture research has also found that increasing women's participation in STEM careers can help to close the gender pay gap––as well as boost women's cumulative earnings by $299bn over the next ten years.
So if you’re looking to make a move to a company where the culture is more supportive and inclusive, then the AltFi Job Board is a great place to begin your search. Discover three female-friendly companies below.
Founded in 2012, Ripple's vision is to enable a world where value moves as seamlessly as information flows today—an Internet of Value. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) here include groups for parents and women, and the company aims to support its employees’ work-life balance. It also offers an industry-leading paid 16 weeks of parental leave, as well as inclusive family-forming benefits to cover all paths to parenthood. See opportunities at Ripple now.
Zalando has a vision to be inclusive by design. Starting with hiring, the company says it does not discriminate on the basis of gender identity, sexual orientation, personal expression, ethnicity, religious belief, or disability status, and that it only assesses candidates on their qualifications and merit. A defined diversity and inclusion strategy called do.BETTER is in place, as well as a number of employee resource groups, several of which are dedicated to women. See all open roles here.
Salesforce is committed to creating a workforce that reflects society through inclusive programs and initiatives such as equal pay, employee resource groups, inclusive benefits, and more. It is aiming for 40 per cent of employees globally to be women-identifying and non-binary by the end of 2026, and was #2 on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list in 2021. Want to work here? Explore open roles.