The technology sector may well be suffering from skills shortages but it is still not attracting enough women. According to research conducted with 2,500 IT leaders from around the world, women are badly under-represented in IT roles. Even more depressingly, there is little sign that this state of affairs will change soon.
The proportion of female technology leaders and CIOs has remained more or less static for the last seven years. Only 7% of those responding to the survey were women. 35% of those surveyed reported that their organisations have no female technology managers while 24% have no women at all in their technical/development teams.
While digesting this report I came across this blog post by Lydia Leong of Gartner. Lydia has a distinguished resume, having worked in IT for 20 years. She draws on her experiences – good and bad – to emphasise that corporate culture is what will make the difference when it comes to improving the representation of women in IT.
She also reports this jaw-dropping story. At a recent Dell customer/partner summit in Copenhagen a controversial entertainer addressed the audience:
“The IT business is one of the last frontiers that manages to keep women out. The quota of women to men in your business is sound and healthy,” (and asking the women, “What are you actually doing here?”).
At the time no-one from Dell felt moved to apologise about these comments – although it has since done so via Google+. This kind of culture – one that hires ‘booth babes’ and speakers with well-known controversial opinions about women in the workplace – is what needs to change if women are to be better represented in IT.
The CIO Survey 2012 is available to download from Harvey Nash.