From Gameboys to working as the CIO, men continue to dominate the IT sector
Over half (53%) of men working in the sector believe both genders are offered equal opportunities, but less than a quarter (23%) of women agree. Moreover, over a third of women surveyed (37%) believe that they have been passed over for a promotion due to their gender.
The IT & Telecoms profession in the UK is dominated by men, with women making up a mere 16% of professionals in the industry1. The latest research by recruiter Spring Technology suggests that rather than seeing signs of improvement, this gender imbalance is gathering pace.
Organisations naturally seek to hire a successful type when recruiting but the imbalanced gender mix of the current IT workforce means that this successful type will most likely be male.
On Spring Technology’s behalf, Thomas International conducted a bespoke piece of analysis to look at the differing behavioural characteristics of men and women in the Technology sector 2. They provided evidence that many men working in the sector displayed higher levels of Dominance-associated characteristics (e.g. being assertive, inquisitive, self-starting, direct, results-driven).
These characteristics are often seen as highly desirable in potential leaders. However, women working in Technology demonstrated a higher frequency of Influential-associated characteristics (e.g. being persuasive, talkative, demonstrative, optimistic) which may not be as valued as highly by employers looking for the next future leader in their organisation.
Recruiting to type may be part of the reason why currently only 3.6% of IT & Telecoms Directors are female3. Encouragingly three in ten (30.6%)4 of web designers and development professionals are women4, proving that in some IT roles women are better represented.
Richard Protherough, managing director of Spring Technology, said, “These findings demonstrate both the significant gender imbalance that exists in the IT sector and the scale of the challenge for employers seeking to address it.
“Employers are missing out on a huge pool of potential talent and women are missing out on highly rewarding careers in Technology. Employers need to recognise that they are at risk of recruiting to type and be vigilant against it in order to encourage more women into the sector. A change needs to come from within and IT functions need to & lsquo;normalise’ women at the top by promoting a culture that advocates and supports the development and progression of women who are working in the sector.
“Those companies that lead the change and harness the skills that women bring to the table placing as much importance on these as they do the more & lsquo;male’ skill-set, will ultimately win the battle for the best talent in the market but also reap the financial benefits too.”
Belinda Parmar OBE, CEO of Lady Geek, said, “This report shows that being proactive in encouraging young women into the IT & Telecoms occupations is more crucial than ever. We can’t be complacent we need to show girls that technology is the most creative career you can have. We need to tell our girls that if they want to change the world, technology is best way to do it!”