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31% of women globally feel a lack of female leaders holds back tech career potential

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From Booking.com’s research findings from a global study on gender diversity challenges in the technology sector, data suggests that women generally find the tech sector appealing and hold a positive view of the potential it offers.

However, recruitment bias, the current workforce composition, and a lack of female decision-makers and visible role models are chief among the hurdles they face.

The research covered 6,898 women who work in tech and female students interested to pursue a career in the tech sector, from the UK, USA, France, Brazil, The Netherlands, Germany, China, Australia, India and Spain, in an online survey.

Foremost in the findings was that the sector is certainly appealing to current and future talent. For example, interviewees from China are drawn to the tech industry as they find it creative (62%), innovative (57%), and diverse (25%), while also offering work that challenges them (34%).

These factors, in fact, comprised a ‘dream job’ for a number of women. When asked what criteria women globally would use to define their ‘dream job,’ more than four in five cited work that allows them to be creative (89%), followed by jobs with a high salary (85%), and a job that challenges them (82%).

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However, there are plenty of challenges before tech can become a dream job for these respondents. Nearly one in three women globally (31%) feel a lack of female decision makers holds back tech career potential – a likely contributor for more than four out of five women feeling they face more challenges to enter (87%), and grow and succeed (83%) in certain careers than men.

Thus, women still have reservations – nearly half (49%), pointed that this is because of the tech sector’s largely male-dominated workforce, followed by more than a third (35%) who cite gender bias during the recruitment process as a hurdle.

Interestingly, perceptions of gender bias at the hiring stage vary greatly across markets. In Brazil, one in two women (50%) feels that gender bias during recruitment negatively impacts chances of securing a career in tech, the highest among the countries surveyed, while fewer women in European countries feel this way (18% in the Netherlands and 22% in both the UK and Germany).

Bridging the tech gender gap through early education:

  • Compare to experienced tech professionals, high school students are especially drawn to tech because it offers them the chance to be successful from a young age (35% vs. 23% among experienced tech professionals), as well as it involves innovative work (40% vs. 26% of experienced tech professionals).
  • 42% high school students agreed that the freedom to be creative is the main reason they are interested in a career in tech, much more than the global average of 25%.
  • Among all the interviewed markets, China (52%) and India (64%) are the two countries where women are more likely to follow the career footsteps of their parents ( 40% global average).
  • When it comes to sourcing information on potential career options, women in China and India are also more likely to turn to tech-related organisations they are part of, for example, ‘Girls Who Code’ (36% and 27% respectively vs. 20% global average).

Gillian Tans, CEO at Booking.com, commented: “If the tech industry is to retain a balanced future pipeline of talent, we must all work tirelessly to engage women throughout their years of education, to act as positive sources of influence in shaping girls’ perceptions of STEM.

“Women are still vastly underrepresented in the tech sector. What our research now tells us is exactly where women experience the biggest barriers and where the opportunity to initiate change is.”

Lead image / Booking.com

HR Masterclass from Human Resources magazine: High-level HR strategy training workshops
led by the world's most respected HR thought leaders & strategists.
Review the 2018 programme here »

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