Tech Industry and Gender Inequality

We may think it’s no longer a prevalent issue in 2021, but it’s something that still very much exists in today’s workforce: gender inequality. Despite how far we’ve come over the past decade, we haven’t come far enough, especially in the tech industry. In fact, one in three women who work in the tech field claims they experience gender-based bias at their workplace.

Gender Bias in Tech Industry

To better understand women’s experiences working in a historically male-dominated field, New View Strategies surveyed 1,000 women who work in the industry.

Of those respondents, 38% say that men are assumed to be more capable than women in their tech-based workplace. That’s a significant stat, and perhaps fuel to the fire behind a gender-based bias.

Additionally, 38% of respondents stated they witness gender bias at their place of work. Not all tech-based workplaces discriminate against genders, but 46%, or almost half, of survey respondents, say their company does not actively prioritize gender equality. That prioritization isn’t found within their hiring practices nor their company culture.

Gender Pay Gap

Gender inequality may show itself in many ways in the workplace. Maybe there’s a pay gap, where a man is getting paid more than a woman for a job where the duties are the same. Or maybe there’s gender-based harassment, where women’s appearances are being critiqued or commented on in ways that may be inappropriate.

Gender-based harassment doesn’t just occur in person at the workplace, it happens even with remote workers. One in ten women says they experience gender-based harassment over Slack or email. Because of this harassment in a virtual environment, 70% of survey respondents say they prefer having their cameras off during video calls. If a woman isn’t seen, they can’t be harassed on their appearance. Almost half of the women surveyed (48%) aren’t even sure if their organization has a remote work harassment policy.

The gender pay gap is another issue that’s been prevalent for decades, and it still exists even today. While 43% of survey respondents believe there is a gender pay gap at their workplace, only 24% of women have discussed a pay gap with their coworkers. Talking about one’s salary is generally taboo, in any workplace, so it may be hard to confirm or deny an existent pay gap among the genders. However, as two in five women believe it exists, clearly there are some discussions that need to occur.

Pandemic Impact

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything over the last year and a half, including the workplace. But while some industries have transitioned to full-time remote positions because of the pandemic, many roles in tech have always been filled by people working from home.

But even if you were working remote prior to the pandemic, it’s still impacting everyone in almost every industry. With more organizations and companies remote, industries had to change how they operate. Those changes in operation ultimately may impact workers, and for women in the tech industry that means an increase in workload. Over half (52%) of women said their workload has increased since the start of the pandemic, and about a quarter (27%) now find themselves less optimistic about their careers.

With less optimism comes less joy or appeasement, and that may push for a desire to change careers. Women in tech are feeling that strain, and 38% say they plan on leaving their jobs in the tech field within the next two years.

Why Women Get into Tech Industry

With all this gender-based bias and issues in the workplace, why might a woman even want to pursue a career in the tech field? For almost half of the women (46%), it’s because of the compensation. In addition to the pay, 33% of women say they pursued the tech industry for job security. For other women, they wanted to work in tech for reasons such as a passion for the industry, flexibility, and the prevalence of jobs.

There is no true perfect job or industry, and so many factors are constantly changing (especially now in a COVID-19 world). But there are some improvements industries and management could make to improve the lives of their employees, especially women.

Perhaps offering more training or classes for employees, or even hiring more women especially in management roles may be a start. According to the women surveyed, only 13% said their organization offers training specifically for women, versus the 54% that believe their tech company should offer specific training just for women.

The tech field may appear to be an uphill battle for women who want to rise to the top, but there are some perks to staying and working in a tough field. Women in tech say that the biggest perk of this field is flexible work hours. 81% of respondents say it’s the hours for them, and 74% say the PTO available in this field is another major perk. As a woman, paid maternity leave is also something to be considered, and for 55% of women, that’s one of the biggest perks.

Other major perks for women in the tech field include the ability to work remotely, 401k matching, training, stock options, and paid paternity leave.

Tech Industry Challenges

There are issues in every industry, but specific to technology, what is the biggest challenge for women? According to survey respondents, it’s the lack of opportunities for advancement. There are other challenges women face, such as a lack of mentorship, lack of training resources, and a pay gap.

If you struggle to think of a prominent woman role model in the tech field, you’re not alone. It’s a male-dominated field, with mostly men at the helm of large tech companies. Almost half the women (48%) surveyed, say the lack of a positive female role model is another one of the major challenges the tech field faces.

There’s always room for growth or learning opportunities, and the tech field can always change. Hopefully, the tech field can ultimately change, as 81% of women say they believe improvements need to be made within their organization.

New View Strategies surveyed 1,000 women who work in the tech industry to ask about their experiences, challenges as well as improvements they’d like to see. The average age of respondents was 29. Work environment: Office/in-person (42%), fully remote (26%), hybrid (32%). Salary: Less than $25K (11%), $25-$50K (38%), $50-$100K (43%), more than $100K (8%).

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