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Tech gender gap closing fast

Byron Connolly | July 5, 2017
We’ve ‘broken the back’ of some of the larger issues relating to gender diversity, says Davidson Technology’s Owen Jones.

Tech gender gap

The number of women in the tech sector has jumped by eight per cent in the last year, according to a new report. In fact, women represent 39 per cent of the total tech sector, says recruiter Davidson Technology.

Representation of women at executive levels within the IT sector has also jumped to 17.6 per cent, up 3.6 per cent from last year.

Davidson has worked with social network LinkedIn – where 547,000 Australians in IT are listed – to compile the results for its second DiversIT report. There has been a 25.7 per cent increase in the number of people that list themselves as working in IT over the past year.

Owen Jones, general manager, technology at Davidson, told CIO Australia that organisational boards actively setting KPIs and targets around gender diversity over the past few years is paying off.

“The bigger companies are starting to do this and it’s really had an impact. Companies are taking it [gender equality] more seriously; they are driving it through HR, through KPIs, and having women in shortlists. I’d like to believe that this is why we are having more females moving across or being appointed into these roles,” he said.

By IT job type, there’s been a seven per cent rise in the number of women taking up positions as data engineers this year over 2016. Of the 6000 data engineers listed on LinkedIn this year, 40 per cent are now women, the research found. There’s also a 50:50 gender balance in the market for user interface/user experience consultants.

But despite these positive numbers, Jones is adamant that there is still a gender gap, arguing that it’s more obvious in more niche role types in areas such as cybersecurity.

Indeed roles such as CIO (6000 in total), CDO (3000), IT manager (7000), network engineer (7000), and security engineer (3000) are overwhelmingly stacked by men. There are less than 1000 women on LinkedIn who are working in those jobs. Jobs with the largest numbers of women include IT project manager, developer/analyst programmer, designer, business analyst, program manager/program director, and architect. 

Jones said the recruiter’s clients reported that it’s extremely difficult to change the gender diversity balance once organisations have hired large teams of men. He said being a single female in a team of 10 men can be intimidating.

“But once the ball is rolling and there’s at least two or three in each team of 10 then it becomes easier to attract three, four or five [women]. We’ve broken the back of some of those bigger problems we had in the first place and organisations are doing a better job of attracting and probably positioning themselves around what their EVP (employee value proposition) is around attracting females into the workforce.”


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