U.S. Businesses Falling Behind in Global Race for IT Talent
Boulder, Colo. - June 16
The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) released its free comprehensive report, "Women In IT: The Facts," which addresses the current state of affairs for women working in information technology (IT) and computing careers. The report discusses reasons why women in the industry leave at staggering rates and what companies can do to attract and retain them.
“The percentage of computing occupations held by women has been declining since 1991, when it reached a high of 36 percent,” the report says. “Meanwhile, the percentage of jobs held by women in almost all other sciences has increased significantly.”
The report offers businesses extensive data about how the loss of women in IT affects corporate profitability and U.S. competitiveness. For example, “companies with the highest representation of women in senior management teams had a 35 percent higher return on equity,” but “56 percent of women in technology companies leave their organizations at the mid-level point (10-20 years) in their careers.”
The research indicates that unconscious bias and gender pay gaps are significant factors. Women account for just 9 percent of IT management positions and after 15 years experience, earn 11 percent less than men do. Other factors are isolation, lack of role models and mentors, poor supervisory relationships and competing life responsibilities.
The report also provides detailed advice about what companies can do to combat the loss of female IT talent. The primary recommendation is for companies to develop an “ecosystem of reform,” which author and NCWIT senior research scientist Catherine Ashcraft outlines in the report.