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“By teaching our girls to code, we’re not just preparing them to enter the workforce — we’re preparing them to lead it.”
— Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization that aims to close the gender gap in technology
If we want to pinpoint the moment women began getting forced out of the tech industry, we can look at one year: 1984. Women in science statistics reveal that a decade earlier, the percentage of women in college who expressed an interest in computer-science programs was relatively close to parity with the numbers for men: 37.1% of all students graduating with degrees in computer and information sciences were women, compared to 62.9% who were men.
Then things changed: From 1984 onward, the number of women was cut in half. By 2010, women accounted for only 17.6% of computer-science and IT programs.
What caused this vertiginous decline? How it has affected the tech industry? Women in tech statistics shed light on the causes and effects of the gender gap in the technology business.
Women in Tech – Key Findings
- Only 24% of computing jobs are held by women.
- The percentage of female STEM graduates is about 19%.
- Women leave the tech industry at a 45% higher rate than men.
- 11% of the engineering workforce is female.
- A quarter of tech conference keynotes in last three years were delivered by women.
- White and Asian women made 97 cents for every dollar white and Asian men made in tech-industry jobs.
- 20% of women over the age of 35 are still in junior positions.
- Unfairness-based turnover costs tech companies $16 billion per year.
- In 2016, women-led tech companies received $1.46 billion in venture capital investments, while male-led companies received $58.2 billion.
Gender Makeup in Tech
The lack of diversity in the tech sector is not a recent phenomenon; balanced tech has been a consistent challenge for companies for many years. Tech companies from around the world draw their employees mainly from a small segment of the talent pool – predominantly white and Asian men from elite educational institutions. However, drawing from a narrow pool exposes organizations to criticism, reputational risk, and possible lost profits.
To understand the magnitude of the gender balance issue, consider the following statistics on women in tech.
Only 24% of computing jobs are held by women.
(American Enterprise Institute)
The percentage of women in computer science has declined for years. It’s mirrored by a decline in the number of women in all tech fields. The percentage of women in tech varies in different countries. For instance, in Slovakia, women account for only 9.29% of the total technology workforce.
The percentage of women among STEM graduates is about 19%.
Statistics of women graduates in tech prove a well-known fact: STEM careers are male-dominated. This shortfall in the percentage of female computer science majors is hardly surprising, since women in STEM have relatively few STEM role models.
This gender imbalance is often referred to as the STEM gap. In spite of growing emphasis on gender equality, the gender disparity in STEM fields remains an issue in the modern labor market.
74% of female teens express interest in STEM topics.
(Girl Scout Research Institute)
Statistics of women in science and tech show encouraging results – girls are overwhelmingly interested in STEM. The girls were surveyed on the level of their interest in the field, and their responses varied from “somewhat” to “very” interested in subjects such as science, math, and engineering as well as tech industry jobs.
77% of Facebook’s global tech-related jobs are occupied by men.
In 2014 a renewed fight for diversity started in Silicon Valley, and many companies followed. Facebook is just one of them, and even though it has made some progress, its computer science gender ratio still points to high rates of inequality. Women in tech current statistics reported by Facebook show that only 33% of female employees work in tech-related positions.
Even so, Apple, Google, and Facebook have joined the battle for gender equality and they plan to continue working on this priority.
Apple employees are 30% female and 70% male.
Tech companies often draw criticism for being exclusive and lacking diversity. According to the most recent Apple diversity-in-technology statistics report, the numbers indicate about the same gender ratio as Google and Facebook – 30% female and 70% male.
It’s even worse when the ratio is confined to tech jobs, where male vs female employment statistics show 80% men and 20% women in the Apple workforce.
57.1% of women participate in the labor force, compared to 69.1% of men.
(US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
In 2018, the percentage of women in the workforce was 57.1%. That’s about 75,978,000 women aged 16 and over participating in the American labor force.
That number is declining. Women in business statistics reached a peak in 1999 when female participation in the labor force was nearly 70%. It is now projected to drop to 55.4% by 2024 and 51.9% by 2060.
More than 20% of women over the age of 35 are still in junior positions.
How many men are in a company seriously affects the way employees climb the ladder within the organization. Because most tech companies have women in leadership positions, women tend not to climb very high.
Computer code written by women was accepted 78.6% of the time on GitHub – 4% more than code written by men – when the coder’s gender was kept secret. When contributors are identifiable as male or female, men’s code is accepted at a higher rate.
(PeerJ Computer Science)
It is not just ruinous statistics on women in tech industry and the percentage of women in tech that that pose trouble. Another issue to tackle is the perception of women in the workplace, which is a problem of greater magnitude.
Knowing the gender of a programmer should not affect perceptions of code quality. Nevertheless, this kind of bias continues to affect women in the workplace. According to these women in tech companies statistics, it seems that women’s code is perceived as better – as long as people don’t know it was written by a woman.
55% of women in tech careers start in entry-level positions. Only 39% of men start at the bottom rung.
It should come as no surprise that women in tech jobs start with entry-level positions and that men are more likely to start with higher-ranking jobs. When looking into further business hierarchy, women are even more underrepresented at higher levels.
Only a quarter of tech conference keynotes in the last three years were delivered by women.
According to these women in high tech statistics, tech conferences have become more inclusive for women in the past few years. However, there is still far to go.
Businesses should be more vigilant and mindful about who represents them. As of now, only 25% of businesses decide to be publicly represented by top women in tech.
11% of the engineering workforce is female.
(Women’s Engineering Society)
The percentage of women working in engineering is disappointingly low, both in academia and in the profession of engineering, according to the latest female engineers statistics. Many organizations and initiatives have been created to tackle the traditional gender disparity in this field and especially to recruit more female software engineers.
Nearly half of women with engineering degrees don’t enter the field at all or quit soon after.
As we’ve seen, there are relatively few women who tech in engineering fields. Worse, nearly 40% of them decide to quit soon after starting work. Many don’t even enter the field at all, according to the latest statistics of women in tech.
The question arises: Why would well-educated women in software engineering leave their good-paying jobs? It seems that there are many reasons. Some women cite “bro culture” at tech companies as a main disadvantage. Others note that there are few growth opportunities for women. And some cite a lack of family-friendly flexible hours
The Retention Problem
Attracting women to tech is only part of the battle. The retention of women in technology is an issue as well. Recently released workplace statistics for high tech companies reveal that there are many reasons women leave their tech positions. Hundreds of programs and initiatives have been designed to address the issue, but diversity programs are not yielding the desired results. The percentage of men to women in most companies is still disappointing.
Women leave the tech industry at a 45% higher rate than men.
Bias results in a troublesome percentage of women in U.S. leaving tech – women are already paid less, get low-entry positions, have poor growth and salary opportunities, and are judged negatively for traits that are looked at positively for men.
Despite flexible working schedules at some companies, the industry has not been open to innovations. The term “brogrammer culture” tells more than it should. Women in information technology know this terminology all too well.
According to women in tech retention statistics, short maternity leaves and a lack of paid leave options are major triggers for high job-departure rates, but biased workplaces and bro culture are not far behind.
28% of women leaving tech jobs cite a lack of career growth opportunities as a reason.
(McKinsey, Lean In)
Lack of growth opportunities is one of the most common reasons a high percentage of women in the world leave tech jobs. More than half of women believe men have bigger career and salary growth opportunities as opposed to the average female in the same company.
This is not the biggest issue depressing retention rates, but it is an important one.
Women in tech statistics for 2019 show that 24% of women who leave their tech jobs cite poor management as the reason. And more than half believe they are paid less than men.
In the tech industry, men are offered the same job role as women, but they’re offered higher salaries for the same position 60% of the time.
Tech recruiting platform Hired conducted a women in tech workforce statistics study on the state of wage inequality in the workplace. They found that men and women in tech are often offered the same job position during the job application, but men’s salary offers tend to be 60% higher.
White and Asian women make 97 cents for every dollar white and Asian men made.
The same study found that there is a pay gap between genders, and that it is related to racial inequality in the workplace.
Women and minorities in tech statistics point out that white and Asian women earned 97 cents for every dollar white and Asian men made. Moreover, Hispanic women who earned 91 cents and black women working in the technology sector earned 89 cents for every dollar their male colleagues made.
Male workers tend to apply for a job promotion when they meet 60% of the qualifications, while female workers don’t apply unless they meet 100% of them.
(Harvard Business Review)
This behavior has been studied by Deborah Kolb and Carol Frohlinger, the founders of training and consulting firm Negotiating Women. Women do a better job than men in tech statistics were key to their understanding of how women seek employment. Kolb and Frohlinger have identified a cluster of behaviors they call the Tiara Syndrome.
The behaviors are common among women in tech who are talented and well-educated. The researchers found that these women are unlikely to shout about their successes. Instead, they wait for others to give them credit – or crown them.
It is no surprise, then, that male employees feel they need to meet only 60% of the qualifications before applying for a promotion, while women apply only if they meet 100%.
25% of women in tech feel they are managed differently because of their gender.
Women in the workplace statistics illustrate another factor that affects the position of females in the workplace. A quarter of surveyed women say they feel they are managed differently because of their gender.
This is particularly evident in feedback provided by managers, especially with women in IT. Performance reviews of women are more likely to characterize women as “shy” or “emotional” instead of focusing on the quality of their work.
A 2018 survey of 175 European companies raising venture capital found that only one had a female chief technology officer.
Male-dominated jobs statistics like these are directly related to the fact that many women are leaving tech jobs. Organizations that offer valuable mentoring opportunities to dominating women in tech and are more open toward career growth within the company have higher retention rates than those that do not.
Unfairness-based turnover costs tech companies $16 billion per year.
Diversity of women in tech statistics show that tech employees from all backgrounds cite unfairness and gender inequality as key factors behind their decision to leave. A high percentage of women in the workforce continue to struggle with this issue.
Using conservative estimates and based on the number of tech employees leaving the industry, discrimination and unfairness is costing tech companies at least $16 billion every year in employee replacement costs.
1 in 10 women in tech industries report unwanted sexual attention.
A Kapor Center survey of 2,000 people who decided to leave tech positions in the last three years reveals that sexual harassment complaints about unfairness are disproportionately high compared to other industries – which provides further explanation for disappointing women in technology statistics. The report’s authors suggested that strong diversity and inclusion programs such as explicit diversity goals, unconscious bias training, and employee resource groups can significantly improve retention.
Women Struggling to Reach the C-Suite
Female executives in male-founded tech companies are more likely to head HR than to hold other leadership positions – and that’s only the few who make it to the C-suite. Unfortunately, many women in the history of tech statistics and their brilliant programming work have been virtually erased from history. Kay Mauchly Antoneli, Betty Bartik, Frances Holberton, Marlyin Meltzer, Frances Spence, and Ruth Teitelbaum wouldn’t be in obscurity in a fair world; they would be famous female programmers.
Of the 41 Fortune 500 companies in the technology sector, only five have female CEOs.
In spite of the fact that several of the world’s largest tech companies are actively trying to hire more famous women in technology, they are still struggling to include women.
Women leaders in tech statistics show that most companies average 30% female employees, but there many factors prevent women from getting promoted to CEO.
14.3% of the board seats at tech companies are held by women.
Female representation on high-tech corporate boards continues to be below 20%. Most of the companies whose boards have at least three female members are based in developed Western markets. Companies with all-male boards are more likely to be based in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China.
Predictions about women in tech statistics suggest that the 30% tipping point will not be reached until 2029 in spite of growing global focus and advocacy in recent years.
In 2016, women-led tech companies received $1.46 billion in investments from venture capitalists, while male-led companies received $58.2 billion.
The gender gap continues even when women and technology go well together. In Silicon Valley, the median male salary is 61% higher than the median female salary. This type of wage gap results in significantly reduced lifetime earnings for women.
What’s more, male vs female CEO statistics show that female-led companies receive significantly lower investments from venture capitalists. The difference in numbers is startling: more than $56 billion.
Women-led tech companies perform three times better, on average, than those with male CEOS.
The glaring gender gap in women in tech statistics means businesses aren’t doing as well as they could be.
This women in technology malpractice continues in spite of the fact that venture-backed companies that were acquired most often had 7% female executives, as opposed to 3% at unacquired ones. These results extracted from the latest women in tech statistics suggest that gender should not be an issue for venture capitalists. Yet they continue to invest with male executives rather than their female competition.
17% of tech startup founders were women in 2017.
Out of 43,008 global companies only 6,791 (16.8%) have at least one female founder. From 2009 to 2012, the percent of venture-founded companies with female CEOs increased by nearly 8%. However, since 2012, female CEOs statistics haven’t changed.
That is nearly five years without any percentage growth in female tech CEOs.
Women hold only 11% of executive positions at Silicon Valley companies.
Women in Silicon Valley hold a small percentage of positions as directors – 10%. Only 8% of corporate committee chairs and 10% of committee members are women in the Silicon Valley ecosystem.
These gender discrimination in the workplace statistics speak for themselves. A woman in tech has to work twice as hard as her average male colleague.
82% of men in startups believed their companies spent the “right amount of time” addressing diversity – while 40% of women disagreed.
(Level Playing Field Institute)
Women in the workplace statistics show that female enterprenurs and female computer programmers in Silicon Valley continue to face large wage gaps, harrasment, discrimination, sexism, and unfairness in the workplace.
However, an upsettingly high number of men believe that their organizations have already spent “the right amount of time” addressing diversity issues.
40% of women stated that not enough time was devoted.
Women in Technology: We Must Do Better
The term “women in tech”, though well-meaning, has become degrading and disempowering for women. It may be time to accept statistics about women and move on. We could start by clarifying what we mean by gender equality at work.
Gender equality is not a state in which every department of a tech company holds an equal number of men and women. Rather, gender equality should offer ladies in tech an opportunity to choose their career path; be paid fairly regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation; and enjoy the same growth and advancement prospects within the company.
McKinsey Institute’s women in tech statistics suggest that $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025, simply by advancing women’s equality. Tech companies have the opportunity to dramatically shift the trajectory of women in technology and make tech an exciting career opportunity for all. Achieving this should be a business imperative for the sector – and the benefits will spread far beyond it.