Let’s Talk About Women in Tech

Did you know that women in tech are more than twice as likely to quit as men? A study of 4,000 women who had recently changed jobs shows that the number one reason women leave companies is as a result of “a concern for the lack of advancement opportunity.”

Women leave the tech industry because they’re –

Underpaid; Treated unfairly; and Less likely to be fast-tracked than their male colleagues and unable to advance.

Let’s Discuss Women in Tech

In a study conducted by the Center for Talent Innovation, it was found that twenty-seven percent of women in tech feel hamstrung in their careers. Thirty two percent of women are more likely to quit within a year. Moreover, forty-eight percent of Black women in tech feel hamstrung.

Unable to Advance

Only twenty percent of chief information office jobs (CIOs) at Fortune 250 companies were held by a women in 2012. MIT Professor Emilio Castilla found that the companies which promote meritocracy show greater bias favoring men over equally competent women. Women, employees not born in the U.S., and ethnic minorities received lower bonuses than White men. The employees were working for the same job and in the same unit for the same supervisor and with the identical performance evaluations.

Treated Unfairly

It’s quite difficult for women to get promoted, let alone be appraised. They’re often pushed into less fulfilling roles and low visibility projects. A study from Harvard, Wharton and MIT found that women’s ideas are ignored until a man makes the same suggestion later. Moreover, women without diverse leadership are twenty percent less likely than white men to get appreciation for their ideas.

Let’s be clear. We are not to say that every women in tech is an expert, but certainly, companies could benefit from diverse sources of perspectives and ideas.

It’s widely known that women in tech receive more vague feedback during performance evaluations. While they do receive developmental feedback, it’s more focused on personality criticism. For example, ‘Sarah’s speaking style is too aggressive. On the other hand, men receive granular, actionable advice latched to business outcomes. For example, Ben has an uncanny ability to connect with people.

Pay Disparity

Some argue the pay disparity saying that women choose lower-paying fields. However, empirical studies suggest that the pay drops are women move in fields previously dominated by men. Of the 164 occupations in last fifty years, the pay drops as women move into fields dominated by men. The areas vary from architecture, designing, biology, and more. Jobs which attract men and were predominantly women, such as computer programming, the pay rises.

Most dismiss this saying women are less likely to negotiate and so they get paid less. However, studies indicate that women ask for pay rises at the same rate at men, but they’re twenty-five percent less likely to receive a yes. A Harvard and CMU study found some interesting evidence. When men and women negotiated a job offer by reading identical scripts, women were perceived as more difficult to work with and a little hostile, compared to men who weren’t perceived negatively for negotiating.

 To address the disparity in tech, companies are trying to implement women-friendly policies. From achieving equal pay to egg-freezing, we’re spending millions and yet going around in a circle without getting an answer. How about we look into the sexist culture that still pervades the tech industry and address it before the next-generation enters workforce?

Priyansha Mistry
Currently editor at The HR Digest Magazine. She helps HR professionals identify issues with their talent management and employment law. | Priyansha tweets at @PriyanshaMistry

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