Back at the start of this year, there seemed to be a bit of a consensus forming around the idea that 2017 might usher in a long-overdue rise in the number of female company directors, especially in the tech industry.
The signs were all there: after decades of woefully imbalanced gender makeup at company executive and board levels worldwide, the pressure to do something about it seemed to be mounting to a real crescendo. In particular, a notable number of female-led startups had enjoyed a pretty phenomenal 2016, and the tech world especially seemed to be on the brink of improving a poor track record of promoting women to the upper echelons.
Disappointingly, it looks like we’re still waiting for the real shake-up to happen. A recent infographic has been produced based on research into the number of executive and director roles available at several of the world’s leading tech offices – it then offers a percentage breakdown of the current numbers of women in those posts compared with men, and suffice to say, it doesn’t take long to spot one overwhelming trend in the tech industry.
Tech Industry - Board data below
Few people will actually be at all surprised by this, we suspect. It’s worth noting that, while the issue is in no way exclusive to the tech sector, the tech industry has been accused of gender bias more loudly and more often than many others in recent.
Part of the problem is that women consistently outperform their male peers in STEM subjects at high school, as well as forming a significantly higher proportion of total university graduate numbers. And yet, somewhere in between the ages of 14 and 22, there’s a breakdown happening that none of the big recruiters seem willing to address: although men represent a minority of university graduates overall, they outnumber women in receiving computer science degrees by about 4:1.
Although, perhaps women prefer other studies?
What makes this especially frustrating is that, despite the growing competition for the most sought-after positions, there’s still a widely acknowledged ‘talent gap’ in the tech industry. Nearly all the big employers want to employ more high calibre graduates with up-to-date programming skills than are typically available at any given time. In short, demand continually outstrips supply at present, and yet nearly 50% of the potential talent pool isn’t being effectively engaged.
Numerous initiatives have been put forward in the past couple of years in an attempt to address this, so hopefully the future will soon start looking a lot brighter. Until then, we appear to be stuck with the problem of a lack of female role models in the tech industry – an issue that many argue is part of the reason for the lack of women coming into the industry through graduate channels, helping to perpetuate a "cycle", at least, according to those who view it as a problem.