A survey of 24,000 tech workers nationwide paints a bleak picture for ambitious women
Over the past year, America’s tech industry has been the subject of growing criticism about how it treats and retains female talent. But a new survey of 24,000 employees working in such companies suggests that things aren’t likely to improve anytime soon. In a poll carried out last year, workplace culture site Comparably asked industry workers nationwide whether they thought their company had enough women in leadership positions. 58% of men indicated that they did, while only 46% of their female colleagues concurred.
Interestingly, workers in client-facing departments like sales and finance were the most likely to say that their employers had a sufficient number of women leaders, though those fields are often dominated by men. By contrast, employees in marketing and human resources roles—which traditionally have more mixed gender representation—were likelier to say that their companies had more work to do.
The discrepancy in perception is important, in part, because jobs in STEM-associated fields often pay more than roles in other industries. The relative absence of women in leadership roles thus perpetuates the gender pay gap.
Of course, many of the tech industries recent brouhahas—Uber’s alleged culture of workplace misogyny, ex-Google engineer James Damore’s viral letter and sexual harassment on the part of Sand Hill Road VCs—have been largely confined to Silicon Valley. As Mashable notes, since the Comparably survey was nationwide, it’s perfectly possible that IT employers outside that stretch of California have better representation of women in leadership roles.
However, the statistics suggest things aren’t much better. A 2014 survey by recruiting firm Harvey Nash found that women occupied only 11% of chief information officer positions in America. Among the 500 heavyweights in the S&P 500 Index that year, just five were led by women. And a 2013 Digiday analysis discovered that only 6% of exec positions in adtech firms were held by females. That said, nearly 86% of women in tech say that they expect to be promoted within the next three years and nearly two-thirds report aspirations for a C-suite role.
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