Women Underrepresented in High-Tech Jobs, IT Management

By Corinne Bernstein  |  Posted 2013-03-25 Print this article Print

"The incoming crop of students going for computer science and other IT-related degrees is smaller than it should be, but many students don't realize that computer programming is not a mathematics type career," said Jean Mork Bredeson, who serves on CompTIA's Community for Advancing Women in IT. "It involves more logical thinking," said Bredeson, who is also president of SERVICE 800, a research company that measures customer service for the tech industry. "It involves being a communicator and using tools to solve problems.”

Ironically, employment experts say recruiters cannot fill many types of fast-growing IT jobs quickly enough. They see a skills gap for positions related to big data, mobile technology, cloud computing and security. Demand also outweighs supply for HTML 5, Hadoop and .NET capabilities.

"At any given time, there are more than 400,000 IT positions open, but fewer students are interested in going into STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] fields, and a large percentage of those who do wind up not graduating," CompTIA's Hammervik said.

The shortage creates opportunities for women, Hammervik said, adding that continued efforts to train, recruit and certify male and female IT workers are essential—particularly in a marketplace that's so skills driven.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg in her controversial book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead emphasizes the importance of tapping "the entire pool of human resources and talent."

Sandberg wrote: "The laws of economics and many studies of diversity tell us that if we tapped the entire pool of human resources and talent, our collective performance would improve. …When more people get in the race, more records will be broken. And the achievements will extend beyond those individuals to benefit us all."

A study conducted last year by Harvey Nash plc revealed that 51 percent of CIOs polled think relationships "between IT and the business" improve by hiring more women. Yet more than one-third of CIOs confirmed there were no women in management IT roles in their organizations, and nearly one-fourth of CIOs had no women on their technical teams.

"The issue is diversity," said Frazzetto of Harvey Nash plc. "When you have a diverse group—whether it's a mixture of gender, cultural background, age or other qualities—it's a more innovative group. You want the most qualified person to fill a position, but there needs to be a balance."


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