This series takes a look at the issues surrounding Gender Diversity within the technology sector and how we can encourage more women to pursue a career in IT.
In Part 1, Mind the gender gap! we highlighted statistics from the The Women in Technology Project Research Report 2015, that revealed 46% of the UK workforce is female, but women only represent 15% of the IT professional workforce.
Although the current ratio of women to men is disproportionate, it’s encouraging to see attitudes towards women in the IT workplace changing, and some employers trying harder to attract female candidates by making their tech positions more female-friendly.
In the previous article, we also noted that Yahoo and YouTube have appointed female CEOs. This trend is in fact spreading across many major businesses within the tech sector. Google, Apple and Microsoft all now have female board members, and these companies are increasingly appointing many of their junior positions to female candidates.
Are the American Corporations leading the way with their more enlightened approach towards women in IT?
The latest GCSE results (2015) show 50.4% of girls who took GCSE Computing, a subject first introduced in 2013, achieved a result within the top three grades (B to A*), in comparison, only 43.8% of boys achieved marks within the top three grades. These results demonstrate girls are displaying an interest in IT at a young age, and given the opportunity, they outperform boys. These are encouraging statistics, let’s hope they lead to a brighter future for gender diversity in the tech sector.
What effect can gender diversity have on business?
Having more women in the workforce can strengthen a business in a number of ways, for instance, a team obtains a wider spectrum of ideas, different points of view and explore other ways of doing that results in competitive advantage through innovation over competitors who don’t possess a similar outlook.
Research published by McKinsey & Company shows that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to financially outperform their competitors in the bottom quartile. McKinsey & Company state that their findings show companies who commit themselves to diverse leadership are better able to win top talent and improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction and decision making, leading to a virtuous cycle of increasing returns.
Another paper published by McKinsey & Company studying gender diversity analysed data from the French multi-national firm Sodexo. The study examined data provided by 50,000 managers across 90 entities around the world. The findings show clear evidence that teams with a male-female ratio between 40% and 60% produce results that are more sustained and predictable than those of gender unbalanced teams.
Let’s hope that positive findings such as these continue to encourage businesses across all sectors (but especially those in the IT sector), to recognise the advantages and importance of gender diversity within their workplace.
In the final part of this series on Gender Diversity, Creating a brighter future. I’ll be taking a look at what is currently being done to encourage women to pursue a career in the tech sector.
By Roger Mills, Co-founder of Think IT Recruitment.
As always, if there’s anything in this article you would like to discuss, please start a conversation or get in touch with me.