Forbes Magazine just released their annual 100 Most Powerful Women List and I was amazed to see how many women in technology were now ranking this list. With companies like Oracle, Cisco, IBM and HP leading the charge with women in their most senior positions, I was astonished to find that women are continuing to leave the IT community in droves.
I started off writing this blog as an ode to my industry and how women are starting to advance, but when you dive into the numbers it is just the opposite. In 10 years the percentage of IT positions held by women has decreased by over 10% (study conducted by the National Center for Women & IT) while IT in general continues to rank as one of the top 10 fastest growing industries in the US. The decrease is twofold. First, there are less women going into technology today. Resources once used to recruit and inspire females into these fields are no longer available and so women are choosing to pursue careers outside of engineering, math and science at an alarming rate. Second, once in technology women are twice as likely as their male counterparts to leave even though IT has one of the highest job satisfaction rates.
What does this mean in the long run? IT along with science and technology are going to become even more desperate for missing talent. In an industry that continues to grow like wildfire, we cannot afford to be missing out on more than ½ of the educated workforce as women today account for 57% percent of all college graduates (US Census) but they continue to choose other careers.
To help address this issue, Monster did a survey of both men and women in IT to understand how we can retain good talent and found that men and women are looking for the same things in their careers: satisfaction, compensation and flexibility but that woman just weren’t seeing any role models for them in the industry and that IT continues to have a glass ceiling.
Which, brings me back to my original thought for this post. In an industry dominated by men we are starting to see major advances by some very gifted women. Hopefully, the proliferation of these role models will help to inspire other young women to enter our industry.