IT Jobs Are Up, But Women Still Struggle to Get In


Those working in IT have understood for a while that their skills were in high demand. The world's love of technology, both within the enterprise and consumer sectors, has driven a need to ensure that these devices and systems work constantly and consistently. Therefore, it came as no surprise when the U.S. Census Bureau discovered that IT jobs have been growing exponentially over the past few decades.

According to the agency's American Community Survey, the number of people currently working in IT is around 4.6 million. This is infinitely more than the 450,000 workers found in the same survey in 1970 and shows just how quickly this industry has grown. However, there was one area of this report that was disconcerting.

Women are vastly underrepresented in IT. This certainly isn't a revelation, as most people working in the field have know this for years. However, having concrete evidence of this gender gap shows the kinds of obstacles women are facing when deciding to work in the technology sector.

The numbers show there is a bias

"Female engagement within IT has actually gone down in recent years."

The Census Bureau's survey discovered that female engagement within IT has actually gone down in recent years. Although the IT workforce was around 31 percent women in 1990, that number dropped to 25 percent in 2014. This is in direct opposition to overall female participation, as the survey found that the total percentage of women working in all fields went from 38 percent in 1970 to 47 percent in 2014. So, while there are more women actually working, fewer are deciding to go into IT.

Although the report doesn't name a specific reason for this, one major factor may be the fact that women aren't valued as highly as their male counterparts. The survey found that median earnings for male IT workers was $82,370. Women, on the other hand, had a median earning of $72,035. Although certain people try to argue away the gender pay gap as a result of women choosing roles less profitable than men, these findings show that there isn't much truth to these claims.

Many are working hard to change this situation

These kinds of statistics are certainly disheartening, but it would appear that many in the industry are working hard to change this. One institution that's working to turn the tides on this trend is Girls Who Code. This organization has dedicated itself toward advancing the female role in technology by promoting programming. Girls Who Code offers a Summer Immersion Program that helps 10th and 11th grade girls discover the magic of technology, which is a perfect age as these young women will be going to college soon to pursue their future careers.

Knowledge can break the gender gap

While making technology seem cool at a young age is certainly a great way to increase women's engagement in the IT workforce, education regardless of age is the key to bridging the gender gap. As more women gather the skills necessary to work with technology, employers will begin to see the value of hiring based on talent rather than gender, and the pay discrepancy in this industry will hopefully decrease or even disappear. Only time and hard work will tell if this discriminatory practice will be fade away from this sector.

Sep 2016

By: Kayla Tellers