When you think of an IT specialist, what persona comes to mind? The answers vary on things like hair color and clothing but one thing remains constant — most people imagine a man. Although it may seem stereotypical, it is not so far off from the actual figures. According to Global Knowledge’s 2014 IT Skills and Salary Report, for every 3.5 men in the technology field, there is only one woman.
The number of women in the technology field saw little growth in recent years. In this male-dominated arena, it appears the representation and compensation of women waivers compared to their male counterparts.
Salary trends for women in IT also vary compared to similarly experienced men. The 2014 IT Skills and Salary Report indicates that women earned a higher salary over men in the first 10 years of their career. However, while that beginning wage steadily increases for women, men’s average salary skyrockets. A man can expect to see over a 35 percent (or $38,000+) increase after 21+ years on the job compared to his first 10 years. A woman can expect a 28 percent (or $28,000+) increase during that same period of time.
Tenure period continues the divide between men and women salary trends in the technology field. Men with 21+ years of experience reported a salary exceeding six figures with an average of $106,653 while women remain under the bracket at $99,060.
What incentive is there for women to pursue training in technology, a place where she will be outnumbered by male colleagues in both school and the workplace in which statistics suggest she might make less money than her male counterparts? One reason is growth. The average salary of female survey respondents has increased 8.9 percent over the past four years. Regardless of experience level, women reported a substantial growth (12 – 14 percent increase) while male respondents saw no more than a 10 percent increase among comparable tenure ranges.
Many successful IT companies look for ways to recruit women, which is evidenced by women-centric campaigns that dominate their social media, blogs and events. Avaya hosts a series on Instagram called #WomenInTech in which female employees are pictured and quoted. VMware hosted a group called “Women of Purpose” at VMworld 2014, which included speakers and networking opportunities. Big tech giants are empowering women by providing opportunities and mentors to young women with an interest in technology.
Companies are not only recruiting women for their rank and file but they’re also recruiting them for high-level positions such as their board of directors. Fortune 500 companies with the highest representation of female board members attained significantly higher financial performance compared to companies with the lowest representation of women board directors, according to Catalyst’s report, The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women’s Representation on Boards. The most successful companies realize that hiring women is good for business.
Women in tech continue to advance and expand their presence in the workforce. Many women entering the field view the current challenges as opportunities to modify the common misconceptions and change the traditional view of the technology persona. I am excited to see a surge of women entering the tech industry and transforming the male-dominated landscape to one that harnesses the value of a diversified workforce.
What initiatives does your company currently use to empower women in the IT field?