A Recode poll of women working at tech giants and startups across America finds widespread appreciation of flexi-time and maternity benefits
Finally, some good news for women who work in tech.
The industry has had a bad rep in recent years, what with scandals around sexual harassment at one-time golden child Uber and some of Silicon Valley’s great venture capital firms. But away from the headlines, new moms working in tech generally give their employers high marks for making their return to the workforce relatively easy.
That’s according to a recent poll conducted by Recode, Vox Media’s tech trade publication, which surveyed 230 women working in tech who recently had kids. The new moms were employed at a variety of companies, ranging from icons like Alphabet Inc.’s Google to small startups. They were asked to rate their employment experience as new mothers on a scale of one to five, with five being the most positive—and just under half (48%) reported a 4 or 5. A further 27% rated their experience as a 3. More than 80% of new moms also remain at the same employer they had before giving birth.
The aspect that new moms liked the most about their firms were flexi-time and the ability to work from home. Over 60% of respondents rated their employer with a 4 or 5 in this category, a nod to the relatively loose corporate structures at many Silicon Valley firms. That said, there’s some evidence that the larger tech companies are trying to cut down on working on home schedules, with no less than IBM telling workers that they should return to the office.
By contrast, the aspect at which tech companies scored the worst was providing childcare options. Indeed, a plurality (40.5%) scored their employer’s childcare benefits as a 1. “We had none for my company and it nearly broke my household to just get 2-3 days a week of time,” one respondent wrote. “It wasn’t financially sustainable to have a sitter or nanny or daycare in the city.”
Other factors considered included the amount of maternity leave workers were eligible for and the quality of lactation rooms. Tech companies generally scored well on these two aspects, though the experience varied depending on if one was working at an established employer or a startup. For the latter, at least one new mother reported having zero maternity leave and needing to take unpaid time off to look after her kids.
Women still remain significantly underrepresented in the tech industry and STEM jobs as a whole, despite these initiatives to make life easier for mothers. By some counts, women own just 5% of all startups. At Google, women comprise just 36% of all employees doing tech work.
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