More organizations are pursuing initiatives to increase gender equality in technology, according to the third annual Harvey Nash Women in Technology: Building Momentum survey report. Thirty-one percent of those surveyed said their organizations provide career development programs for women once they’ve been hired—a 41 percent increase from the previous two years. More than a quarter (29 percent) of respondents say their companies offer programs to support recruiting and hiring of women in technology. In addition, a year after the #MeToo movement was born, 43 percent of women say the spotlight is making the technology industry more welcoming.
The survey, which includes the perspective of both men and women working in the field, captured responses from 681 people across the United States. Here’s a deeper look into the results and some key takeaways.
Cultural Scorecards for Tech Companies
Although the number of companies offering formal programs to recruit and retain women in technology is up this year, there’s an underlying perception that many are just for show. According to the survey, 29 percent of companies offer programs to support recruiting and hiring of women in technology, which is a 30 percent increase over 2017. However, 39 percent of respondents feel their firm is simply “checking a box” when it comes to these initiatives, and that 15 percent don’t promote those principles as part of their corporate culture.
Anna Frazzetto, CDTO and President of Technology Solutions for Harvey Nash said, “Unless a firm explicitly links diversity and inclusion programs to its business goals and objectives, it’s difficult to track which ones are additive. Building an inclusive corporate culture may require flexing some under-used muscles, which can be uncomfortable at first. But with diligence and persistence, the results can be life-changing.”
Striving for Equality
Women in technology do not believe they are receiving equal pay for equal work, even in a career where financial rewards are improving. Just 30 percent of women believe their company pays equally, compared to 68 percent of men. Women in computer, engineering, and science occupations are paid an estimated 79.2% of men’s annual median earnings, according to the US Census Bureau, suggesting equality is still far from being achieved.
Not all is lost, however. The percentage of women who find working in technology financially rewarding has jumped significantly in the last two years, rising from 35 percent to 51 percent. As both men and women continue to push for equality on this issue, it’s possible the pay gap will decrease even more, leveling the playing field for the next generation of women who enter technology roles.
Addressing Work-Life Balance
The survey reveals that women and men both struggle with work-life balance, as well as keeping up with technology trends and skills. Those seeking to accelerate their career path are faced with tough choices, including balancing outside responsibilities with work commitments.
Though both genders say family responsibilities threaten to slow their careers (48 percent of women, 44 percent of men), more men than women say having outside responsibilities doesn’t impact their career (28 percent).
“Balance is what you make of it. Be unapologetic about your professional goals and your personal commitments,” said Jane Hamner, Vice President of National Enterprise Sales, Harvey Nash and ARA Co-Founder. “Priorities may shift, but give yourself the freedom to be fully present in both capacities by setting expectations up front,” she said.
While significant strides have been made between 2017 and now, there’s still a long way to go. By advocating for and on behalf of women, it’s possible the gender gap may continue to shrink, paving the way for the technology industry to achieve some equilibrium along the way.
Want to see the full results of the survey? Download your copy of “Building Momentum” here.