Women Leaving Tech In Droves

Posted by on February 24, 2015 in Cathy's Thoughts | 0 comments

women in tech
This article that appeared in the LA Times on Sunday the 22nd again shows us how women in tech continue to leave in droves because they do not feel seen, heard, respected, and of course, are not paid properly for their skills. HR in many companies is not hiring women because they are the best worker for a certain job. Many companies still have the old fashioned hiring method – hire the right amount of women so the company has the right amount of women employed. They fit into the DIVERSITY bucket. Companies may think they are saving face and image by saying they are hiring the right amount of women to fill their quota. However, are they empowering these women by offering them proper pay for the jobs that they can best perform? Seems not. And it is only getting worse.  It is heartbreaking to see the amount of time and work that many women are putting in to make a difference in the tech world.  And as many of us know, tech is driving the way we live and is also a huge part of how we are finding ways to help those in developing nations live better lives as well as people in our own country.   Tech is NOW.  Tech is changing the way we live in more ways than ever.   We need women in tech to be respected and understood and most importantly, utilized as thought leaders who have the experience and skill sets to keep tech as a positive driving force in our lives.  
Key points made in the article that will give you an idea about just how dire the situation is include:
  • Google, whose engineering workforce is only 17% female, introduced a training program in 2013 that aims to fight cultural biases. Employees play word association games, and are often surprised by how quickly they link engineering and coding professions with men, and less technical jobs with women.
  • The reasons are varied. According to the Harvard study, they include a “hostile” male culture, a sense of isolation and lack of a clear career path. An updated study in 2014 found the reasons hadn’t significantly changed.
  • A Harvard Business Review study from 2008 found that as many as 50% of women working in science, engineering and technology will, over time, leave because of hostile work environments.
  • That’s a huge problem for the tech economy. According to the industry group Code.org, computing jobs will more than double by 2020, to 1.4 million. If women continue to leave the field, an already dire shortage of qualified tech workers will grow worse. Last summer, Google, Facebook, Apple and other big tech companies released figures showing that men outnumbered women 4 to 1 or more in their technical sectors.
  • Sensitivity training, mentoring, instruction in negotiating tactics and other “incremental” measures won’t boost the numbers, said Joan C. Williams, law professor at UC Hastings College of the Law and coauthor of “What Works for Women: Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know.”  Companies need to research the biases that prevent women from getting ahead, she said, and then devise “interrupters.” Instead of single training sessions, companies need to make systemic changes, she said.

“It’s a really frustrating thing,” said Laura Sherbin, director of research at the Center for Talent Innovation. “The pipeline may not improve much unless women can look ahead and see it’s a valuable investment.”

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