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Still long way to go to close IT gender gap

Still long way to go to close IT gender gap

Women make up only 1 per cent of the workforce in the IT architecture field, and are significantly out-numbered in many other fields

The gender gap is still pretty wide in the IT industry with the number of women working in the most popular technology fields not even coming close to 50 per cent, according to IT recruiter, Greythorn.

Greythorn spoke to more than 2,700 IT professionals, of which 16 per cent were women, which the recruiter said was due to the struggle to find the numbers to match the male participants. The recruitment firm believes that the breakdown is reflective of the industry at large.

Women make up only 1 per cent of the workforce in the IT architecture field, with only 4 per cent working in infrastructure, networks and support roles.

Women are significantly out-numbered in many other fields such as software development, business intelligence and data warehousing, security, CRM, ERP and database development and administration.

Only 12 per cent of senior roles such as CIO, IT director and IT manager, are staffed by women.

The most popular fields that attract women are project management, business/systems analyst, and digital and media. Women make up 32 per cent of workers in digital and media, the most popular of the fields researched; while 25 per cent of workers in project management and business/system analyst roles are women.

“It’s not about setting quotas; this sends the wrong message. The single most important thing employers can do is get their organisational culture right so that leaders support individuals regardless of gender to progress based on merit,” said Greythorn APAC’s managing director, Richard Fischer.

“Fostering a culture where the workforce is rewarded and recognised on the achievement of outcomes, not the time spent at their desk, is preferable. Further, developing a culture to the point where the overlaps of work, family and community are not only acknowledged but respected and supported are the best things an employer can do to attract both men and women to their organisation,” he said.

Flexible working conditions are also key to ensuring women can continue to pursue their IT career and move up through the ranks. The research found 58 per cent of respondents are calling for improvements in flexible working in their organisations.

Read more: Dept Education NSW, Cisco to train 100k students in STEM skills

“This must be applied to men and women equally. Women can progress further in their careers not just through utilising flexible work practices, but by their partners utilising flexible work practices too, extending gender equality in the management of household, children, ageing parents or other dependents,” Greythorn said.

Fischer said there’s much focus on attracting women into the industry at high school or university level, which is important, but that also needs to extend to women already in the industry to ensure they continue to pursue their careers.

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