Unequal pay, lack of mentors and persistent gender bias remain obstacles
Wage inequality compared to male colleagues, workplace gender bias and a shortage of female role models are among the main barriers faced by women working in the technology field, according to a new survey by global technology association ISACA.
Detailed in today’s release of “The Future Tech Workforce: Breaking Gender Barriers” report, which coincides with International Women’s Day this week, survey respondents identified the top five barriers experienced by women in tech as:
- Lack of mentors (48 per cent)
- Lack of female role models in the field (42 per cent)
- Gender bias in the workplace (39 per cent)
- Unequal growth opportunities compared to men (36 per cent)
- Unequal pay for the same skills (35 per cent)
“Women are vastly underrepresented in the global technology workforce. This is not only a societal concern, but also a workforce problem, given the critical shortage of skilled technology professionals faced by many enterprises,” said Jo Stewart-Rattray, CISA, CISM, CGEIT, CRISC, FACS CP, board director of ISACA and director of information security and IT assurance at BRM Holdich. “ISACA’s survey findings reinforce that there is much work left to be done. By providing more opportunities, including career advancement programs, we can make long overdue progress in ensuring that women are more equitably represented in the technology workforce.”
When asked about opportunities for professional growth, 75% of respondents state their employer lacks a gender leadership development program. Additionally, 8 out 10 women report their supervisors are male and just 8% report never experiencing gender bias in the workplace.
The survey found that women specifically want mentors, role models and strong networking opportunities.
“In fact, it’s clear that women hunger to learn and benefit from the presence of other women in technology. But at the top of the list of barriers for women in the ISACA survey were “limited networking opportunities” and “lack of a strong professional network,” the report says.
ISACA addresses the lack of networking opportunities through its Connecting Women Leaders in Technology program, which began in 2015 and connects women in the technology industry.
Globally, pay disparity remains a challenge with 53 per cent from Europe, 42 per cent from North America and 80 per cent from Australia/New Zealand reporting that male colleagues tend to be paid more, without a clear reason.
“As an industry, we must commit to changing these numbers and breaking down the barriers for women in technology,” said Tara Wisniewski, ISACA’s managing director of advocacy and public affairs. “It is well past time to address these issues, and ISACA has a responsibility to help solve them.”
In 2017, ISACA will feature several educational opportunities related to its Connecting Women Leaders in Technology program, including a Women in Technology webinar series. The next webinar is scheduled for 18 May.
Survey respondents represented a diverse range of industries including financial/banking, insurance, public accounting, transportation, aerospace, retail/wholesale/distribution, government/military on the national, state and local levels, technology services/consulting, manufacturing/engineering, telecommunications, and more.
A survey report and perspectives from women in tech are available at www.isaca.org/women-in-tech-study.
The Future Tech Workforce: Breaking Gender Barriers study was conducted via online polling among ISACA’s female members worldwide, which was fielded in November 2016.
ISACA® (isaca.org) helps professionals around the globe realise the positive potential of technology in an evolving digital world. By offering industry-leading knowledge, standards, credentialing and education, ISACA enables professionals to apply technology in ways that instill confidence, address threats, drive innovation and create positive momentum for their organisations. Established in 1969, ISACA is a global association with more than 140,000 members and certification holders in 187 countries. ISACA is the creator of the COBIT framework, which helps organisations effectively govern and manage their information and technology. Through its Cybersecurity Nexus (CSX), ISACA helps organisations develop skilled cyber workforces and enables individuals to grow and advance their cyber careers.