It is not news that the tech sector lacks diversity. There have been significant strides towards improving the inclusivity of the tech world. Research has found more than 80% of women in tech would recommend a tech career to young women. However, a subsequent report found women in technology have claimed that diversity is still not a focus for their company.
What is the status of women in tech?
On the one hand
According to booking.com 84% of women in the tech industry would recommend a career in the sector to young women in schools and female undergrads. Additionally, 37% of female respondents mentioned that women working in the sector would improve the gender imbalance in tech. This was if they joined initiatives aimed at encouraging girls and women into STEM.
Gillan Tans, CEO at Booking.com said “It is encouraging and inspiring to see women in technology doing incredible things every day, including actively taking steps to engage with future generations, making their voices heard and launching programmes and initiatives with the goal to help drive further gender diversity in the tech workforce.”
Over 40% of women in the technology industry and individuals interested in this sector said the best way women within the industry could aid diversity is by encouraging women into the sector by sharing their experiences.
However, 40% of women said that firms need to increase the number of women taking part in specific groups to increase representation throughout the business. Although they were not aware of any diversity practices in their firms, the majority were happy in their sector.
On the other hand
A second booking.com study found that 48% of women in the technology sector say their firms are not making diversity a priority. The other half said that their firms are making gender diversity a priority, although many in this category said more needs to be done to help women in the beginning of their career and encourage others into a tech career.
Tans mentioned that greater diversity allows a wider talent pool so diversifying talent needs to be at the front of the mind.
Women in the research commented that the lack of diversity in the workforce was a deterrent in their early career. Additionally, when some women took a break from the workplace for various reasons, this contributed to the pay gap. Some firms are trying to help women who have taken a break from work re-enter the workplace. Yet, 60% of women in tech who had a career break and returned to the industry said the break negatively impacted their career progression. Additionally, 60% of women who had taken a career break felt their contributions are now less valued.
Booking.com has tried to research women in tech to ensure female roles are more visible in the industry. It appears there is still a long way to go, especially for women to take a break from the workplace. However, the situation is certainly improving. Generally, it appears that women are happy in the tech industry and want to be able to promote it.
Additionally, Maggie Berry, a pioneer of networking who aimed to get more women into technology received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Berry was involved in supporting women’s role in tech since 2005.
“Having more role models – and especially accessible role models – is incredibly important for inspiring more women to start working in, and remaining in, technology careers,” said Berry.
This certainly echoes the sentiments of the female respondents of the booking.com survey and is a reassuring step in the right direction.
However, Berry stresses “Even the news that female MPs aren’t paid maternity cover shows how far we are from achieving equality for women and men in the workplace,”
“We are all on this journey together to build inclusive environments that support everyone in a business.”.
Berry’s goal, like the respondents, is to inspire more girls to consider IT as a career option. A fantastic goal which I am certainly hopeful will be reached.