First, the good news. The number of women in tech worldwide has continued to steadily rise in recent years. At the end of 2020, women made up nearly 29% of the tech workforce. And those numbers, according to data from AnitaB.org (a global organization for women technologists), show an increase from 26% in 2019. Slow for sure, but progress is progress right?
Now, the bad news. At this current pace, it will take 12 years before women see equal representation in tech. And if you think that sounds bad, at the current pace, it will take more than 200 years until the economic gender gap is closed. That’s right, pay equality will finally be achieved in the year 2221.
The tech sector is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated many companies efforts to pivot to and ramp up their digital efforts. And with a global talent shortage causing headaches for companies of all sizes, why do women remain so underrepresented in tech?
“It Is Stupid”
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has said, “[Gender inequality] should shame us all in the 21st century because it is not only unacceptable, it is stupid.”
If you took a moment right now to do an Internet search for “Women in Tech” or some variation of that theme, you might find any number of articles, research papers, social media posts, etc. about the topic. And while several factors are at play, one consistent, unfortunate theme keeps rising to the top...pay disparity.
Yet this happens despite research showing that increasing the inclusion of women is a sound business strategy. A 2020 report by McKinsey & Company found, “That the greater the representation, the higher the likelihood of outperformance. Companies with more than 30 percent women executives were more likely to outperform companies where this percentage ranged from 10 to 30, and in turn, these companies were more likely to outperform those with even fewer women executives or none at all. A substantial differential likelihood of outperformance—48 percent—separates the most from the least gender-diverse companies.”
COVID’s Impact and Future Demand
The business case for gender diversity comes at a time when job growth in the tech space and related ancillary fields is exploding and demand will only increase.
According to a World Economic Forum (WEF) report on the Future of Jobs, the top 20 job roles in increasing and decreasing demand across industries are skewed based on gender. If organizations want to keep up with demand, safeguard their business from being left behind due to talent shortages, and invest in the long-term sustainability of their company, they’d be wise to invest and develop female tech talent from all walks of life.