Nearly 40% of female respondents to a new survey plan on leaving their jobs in the tech industry within the next two years.
Technology is thought to be a progressive field. But when it comes to gender issues in the workplace, tech is as regressive as any other, as evidenced by headlines about companies such as Blizzard Entertainment, Apple, and countless others.
And gender bias is not going away. A new study by New View Strategies found that one in three women surveyed reported gender bias at work, and it takes many forms.
Women have been and still are unrepresented in technology; some reasons stem from their earliest school years. When the ones who persist on a tech-career path finally make it to a job, they might not stay long, because of company culture. Nearly 40% of the women who responded to the New Views Strategies survey plan on leaving their jobs in the tech industry within the next two years. Their reported challenges include a lack of opportunities for advancement (52%), female role models (48%), mentorship (40%), and training resources (33%). Thirty-two percent also cited the pay gap.
Nearly half (46%) of the women surveyed said the pay was the reason they got into the tech field, but salary disparity is a huge practical issue and one that companies very often do not confront. Salary-sharing among employees can be considered verboten, yet the pay gap overall is a poorly kept secret, with 43% of the women surveyed saying they believe one exists at their workplace. Twenty-four percent have discussed it with their coworkers, and 26% have seen the salaries of co-workers.
The pandemic has heightened this issue. COVID-19 has impacted nearly every aspect of work culture but has been particularly hard on working women. The burden of childcare has pushed nearly 2 million women out of the workforce. Of those New View Strategies surveyed, 52% said their workload has increased since the start of the pandemic, and 27% are less optimistic about their careers.
One small benefit of working from home would seem to be that it eliminates sexual harassment, but that’s not the case. Ten percent of survey respondents said they were harassed over Slack, email, and Zoom. Almost half of the women surveyed (48%) were not sure whether remote-work harassment policies exist at their companies.
At a time of so much change (for better or worse), tech companies can do much more to turn around the experiences of women. Only 28% of those surveyed felt that their organization prioritized gender equality either in hiring and or company culture.