- Technology industry employers could double the number of women working in tech over the next decade, but many will need to address their lack of an inclusive organizational culture to do so, according to a joint report published by Accenture and the nonprofit Girls Who Code.
- The organizations conducted surveys of both senior HR leaders and women in tech as part of the report, and the resulting data revealed a disconnect between the two groups. HR leaders were twice as likely to agree that it is "easy for women to thrive in tech" compared to women-in-tech respondents. Just over one-third of HR leaders said that building a more inclusive culture would be an effective means of retaining and advancing women in tech roles.
- For women in technology, 37% leave their careers because of company culture and 31% leave because of dissatisfaction with their job role, according to the report. Half of women pursuing careers in technology leave the field by the time they are 35-years-old.
The drive to increase female and minority representation in the tech industry has yielded some progress, yet there are still concerns about organizational commitment and inclusivity, even as some research indicates the number of women applying to tech jobs has increased over time.
So far in 2020, several corporate hiring commitments centered around women in tech. In May, Intel said it would aim to increase representation of women in tech roles to 40% as well as double the number of women and individuals who identify as part of underrepresented groups in senior leadership roles by 2030.
That's despite the fact female representation at Intel declined between 2018 and 2019, per the company. Meanwhile, Melinda Gates' Pivotal Ventures announced in January a $50 million investment to bring more women into the sector.
But Accenture and Girls Who Code report recommended five practices for creating a more inclusive culture:
- Instituting maternity and paternity leave
- Setting targets or goals for diversity in leadership
- Providing support in the form of mentors, sponsors and resource networks
- Rewarding employees for creativity and innovation
- Scheduling inclusive networking events
Caregiving, in particular, has emerged as a talking point during the COVID-19 pandemic as parents — including working mothers — are reportedly more likely to leave their jobs this year, according to career community the Mom Project. The organization found in a study of 2,000 U.S. professionals that women are nearly twice as likely as men to leave their jobs within the next year.
That's on top of biases that existed before the pandemic. A 2019 study of historical trends in public opinion polls by researchers at Northwestern University found Americans still consider men to have an edge on topics such as "agency" or personality traits associated with leadership.
Such biases lead women in corporate America, especially multicultural women, to consider leaving their employers, according to a recent report by Working Mother Media.