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Women in Tech

6 Oct 2014

Women in Tech

Discussion about women in technology has risen recently. Statistics published by the BBC indicate that women account for just 16% of the UK IT workforce, an alarming indicator which has not progressed over the last decade.

Industry leaders are continuously addressing this issue and looking for solutions to bridge the gender gap. Whilst some organisations have introduced female friendly recruitment processes, the question remains, can this statistic be wholly blamed on discrimination and lack of diversity in the hiring processes or is this an example of a lack of continued support and efficient talent management programs for women in the technology sector?

A lot of companies thought this was because women were leaving to have families, but more recent data tends to show that women have become very intolerant of situations where they feel men who are not as qualified as them have been promoted over them, frequently just leaving

- Tina Nunno

In fact, several technology organisations have implemented women into tech recruitment programs that have sought to consolidate talent management and retention and provide support for senior positions. In a recent article by the Guardian, Tina Nunno, a vice-president and fellow at Gartner has further joined the argument that it is not necessarily about the lack of women entering the technology workforce, but a lack of talent management that encourages them to stay. In many industries, including technology, companies will recruit identical numbers of men and women but lose the women within a few years.

Nunno explained that companies traditionally thought the gender balance was down to women leaving to have families, but recent data has highlighted that women have become frustrated by less qualified men being promoted over them. When this happens, they choose to leave.

With so many varied opinions and conflicting reasons, the unwavering statistic that women only account for 16% of the technology workforce remains. Workplaces should always represent the best and brightest minds and in order to achieve this equal playing field, it is necessary to establish sound diversity management in all technological corporations.

Clare Fraser recently told HR Network magazine that diversity management is about focusing on the competencies for that role and separating the person for that. Through stripping bias from the technology recruitment process and combining skills and talent with diversity and equality policies, HR will find the best person suitable for the job.

Women are known to be strong leaders and effective communicators, therefore managerial roles within the tech industry are clearly a natural fit for female workers.However social deterrents still exist that turn them away, such as the perceived techy and "geek" culture. Positive female role models like Marissa Mayer of Yahoo!, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, Jade Raymond from Ubisoft and newly appointed Julie Larson-Green at Microsoft need to be celebrated to showcase the rich variety of opportunities available for women in tech.

In today’s society; with the exciting, challenging, and fast paced triumphs of new and innovative technologies, representation from both genders is needed to keep aggressively pushing the ever expanding technological boundary.

Eden Scott  is dedicated to diversity and committed to supporting closing the gender gap within the tech industry.

What are your thoughts? How can the tech industry bridge the gender imbalance? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below.

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