IT Employment investigate

Women in the IT department: Why the shortage matters

More women in the tech team could help rebuild the relationship between business and IT.

Most CIOs want to hire more women for the IT department, but struggle to find qualified female applicants for the roles they need to fill.

Two out of three CIOs plan to recruit more women but eight out of 10 can't find the right candidates, according to a survey. Half of tech chiefs said more women in the IT department will improve the relationship with the rest of the business and enhance team cohesion and morale.

But as the IT department becomes less about building technology and more about providing services - thanks to trends such as cloud and BYOD - building better relationships with the rest of the business will become increasingly important. Indeed, it's the lack of these relationship-building skills that often make IT seem out of touch with the rest of the business.

However, the vast majority of CIOs  - 82 per cent - surveyed also said hiring more women would have no impact on strategy and 86 per cent thought it would have no effect on technical skills.

Women are and have been for many years significantly under-represented in IT and in particular in IT management. Only one in 10 CIOs is a woman.

One in three of the CIOs surveyed admitted there are no women in IT management roles in their organisation, while just under half said women accounted for less than a quarter of their IT managers, according to the CIO survey by recruitment firm Harvey Nash.

The survey found similar under-representation of women in tech roles. A quarter of CIOs admitted they have no women in their technical teams while half of CIOs said they only had one woman on the tech team.

The survey found more women in non-technical roles such as business analysis and training.

And it seems that old attitudes die hard. Big gaps remain between what female CIOs and male CIOs see as the benefits of women in the IT department. While 49 per cent of the female CIOs interviewed said women have a positive impact on efficient decision-making, only 18 per cent of male CIOs thought women contribute positively in this area.

And while only 24 per cent of female CIOs said increasing the proportion of women in the IT department will have a positive effect on technical skills, only nine per cent of men agreed.

Indeed, not all CIOs agree think the lack of women in the IT department is a problem. A quarter of 'dinosaur' respondents - those who have no women in IT management roles - believe women are fairly represented in their department.

About

Steve Ranger is the UK editor of TechRepublic, and has been writing about the impact of technology on people, business and culture for more than a decade. Before joining TechRepublic he was the editor of silicon.com.

129 comments
LindaEwen
LindaEwen

Major companies do not hire women in senior positions. Nor do women have an exclusive on "touchy/feely". I've been in IT more than 50 years. There are even "Women in IT" groups in many companies which means they are totally in a class by themselves - second class. When I was growing up the one comment people made about the gender issue is that no one ever says I hope my son doesn't marry one of them!

panda
panda

Women are welcome and needed in the IT department. They are usually very organized and most important - they are multitasking. Men are not. You might like it or not, but it is true. One of my colleagues in my IT department is a woman: very hard working and efficient, not to mention her initiative and self motivation. They give their opinions from a different point of view, contributing enormously with good ideas and ways to improve things.

cburke
cburke

There is a shortage of women in IT because they do not get paid the same as men in IT.

susan.nall
susan.nall

I'm a woman in IT (Network Engineer) and I love it. I think the concept of women in IT is sort of opposite to what we've seen in the nursing field. It used to be you never saw a male nurse, but now they are more common and nursing is beginning to be accepted as a legit career for a man. Mostly I think more girls in high school need to be made aware that IT is a good career field if it fits your likes and dislikes. I don't ever think we'll be 50/50 - just because I really do think there are more men than women that are suited for and enjoy IT, but we're definitely underrepresented currently.

angry_white_male
angry_white_male

Bottom line is IT is a man's environment. In my experience, both as an IT employee and manager is you got two types of females in IT... a.) horribly introverted / socially awkward who won't put in any additional effort or overtime to get a job or project done - but use their "woman status" as a shield against being fired b.) bitchy, type-A personalities, with chip-on-the-shoulder attitude, trying to prove themselves in a man's world, workaholics, who will knock over any man who gets in her way Either one will blow you in to Human Resources in a heartbeat if they feel ever so lightly threatened by a male co-worker or manager... or get tired of hearing too many guy jokes or curse words. I hired a woman once into a network admin position... big mistake. Great during the interviews, didn't care if she was a woman or not (she was a butch dyke lesbian)... but as soon as she started - it went all downhill from there. Besides, there are enough IT guys out of work - and we want to push even more out on the streets because there's not enough estrogen amongst our ranks? No thanks. As for 1:10 CIO's being female... I have to wonder how many of them know which end of a CAT5 patch cable goes into the wall jack and the other end into the PC. My guess is most were promoted from within from a different department as a politically correct move in order to balance out the executive level of the company.

RMSx32767
RMSx32767

The problem is not "there are not enough women in IT"; the problem is "for too long the uber-techno-geeks-with-zero-soft-skills (who tend to be male) were the desired persons to hire". Reason? Some dim bulbs believed IT exists in a vacuum, forgetting a primary reason for IT is to provide the tools and support for people to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently.

stardust321
stardust321

Frustrated with some of the same themes as described in previous posts, I moved from IT to DATA department. Problem is that management and supervisors expect me to "teach" everyone. I don't have a problem showing staff how to help themselves. Point is these staff are using what I "give over" to them as their own. These staff are not technically disciplined but think they are once they have a little understanding of the tools. Management and supervisors don't know enough to see they are being snowballed by these staff.... and, don't know enough to realize I put alot of money, time and effort into my education and experience. Management feels its my function to give all the answers to these other staff. How do I tactfully approach that aspect?

GSG
GSG

We're 2/3 women in our IT department, and the last one I worked in was 2/3 women. While I've encountered some issues in past IT positions (being told I was the token female and my job was to bring the men coffee), in my current place of employment, it's not an issue. We work together as a team regardless of gender.

cammsav
cammsav

Why should we have women in IT? Women are as capable as men at doing the same jobs and should be treated equally. Why should we have women in IT? Every field that lacks female employees lacks the special touch that women bring to the workplace. ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! What about those areas of life that are being increasingly ignored by the modern woman so that she can focus on herself? Not important? Or maybe we are created differently so that society can have a holistic approach to life (life != career). Why does everyone have to have a career? Why does every facet of life have to be reshaped into a career? If you don't have a "career" as defined by modernity are you really worth anything?

OurITLady
OurITLady

I'm a female IT support tech working for a construction company - you can't get much more male-orientated business than that. What I've found so amazing is the number of women posting who say they get asked if the caller can speak with a male tech, with the inference or outright statement that they don't believe a woman can know the tech side as well as a man. I've been in the business now for 17 years and have never in any company been told I can't do the job as well as a man, never been made to feel like they would rather deal with a man, or any other form of implied or outright sexism from the people I support. I'm not saying I haven't had to deal with some sexism along the way, unfortunately usually from the techs I've worked alongside, but never in the form of doubting my ability - it's always taken the form of the dirty jokes or comments about my appearance. I've also never felt that I wasn't getting my due in the way of payrises, training, and management support because I was female, more because the companies I've worked for that had those issues it was rampant regardless of gender. Perhaps I have been fortunate, but over those 17 years I've worked for a number of companies, it surprises me to hear that so many feel they are being discriminated against because of gender in this business.

ArseneLupin
ArseneLupin

What Steve Ranger and the non-???dinosaur??? respondents seem to forget, is that there are simply not hordes of women hammering at the IT departments' doors for employment. For the same reason there are not hordes of female auto-technicians. No glass ceiling. Jfuller05's comment sums it up best: "Why shove IT at women when they're not interested? Could it be *shock* that men and women are different?"

markyf
markyf

As an IT Director with over 20 years in the industry who's worked in a number of companies, I've seen a number of female employees in IT over the years, but not that many. Those I have seen/taken on have in general been very good and at least on a par with their male counterparts. The lack of women in IT has predominantly been down to a lack of applicants. Often when we advertise an IT technical role we will see no female applicants at all. We do have four women in our IT/MIS department (but that is out of a total of around 28). I'd welcome more female applicants in IT, it builds a more rounded team with different views, and also works better in tying IT into the rest of the business, especially those sections with more female employees. As an example we are currently hiring for a IT Support role in Birmingham (I work for a Large Computer Games company), but again - no female applicants. I don't know if we are just advertising in the wrong places, or the agencies aren't appealing to females, or there just aren't many women interested in IT support? So here's a challenge - if there are any female IT support people out there looking for a role in Birmingham in a Computer Games company, we'd really like to hear from you. (Male applicants also welcome). Link below. http://www.codemasters.com/uk/#/uk/job/it-support/

perrya
perrya

i don't see how increasing the number of women will have a positive effect on technical skills, was there another study in there that i missed saying that women had better technical skills than men? one part i do agree with however. i.t. is about providing services. i don't see how someone's sex has anything to do with that in our department there's about half men and half women, the technical support manager is a woman. she wasn't put in the job because she's a woman, but because she's good at her job. and as for women improving team cohesion and morale, i'm not sure where you're going with that either. people with good team skills improve morale... the last woman recruited into our department has been the singularly most team destroying person we've ever had, while the two before her were great team players i think your survey asks the wrong questions

lbs007
lbs007

I'm the 1st and only female technician in my department. It took the guys a while to get used to the thought, but now I'm one of them. We have respect for one another and learn from each other on a daily basis. As far as the woman are more catty comment goes - I think either gender can be equally catty when given the right circumstances. I do agree that it takes a different "breed" of woman to be in IT - I was raised with equal opportunity (had both barbies and cars for toys) and I think that contributed to my career choice. I think times are changing and more girls are going into technical fields. Although I still get the "I want to speak to one of the IT guys" comment, and "what does a girl know about IT". I normally have something witty to say in return and continue with the task at hand. In my opinion its all about being the best you can be, regarless of gender.

Professor8
Professor8

There has never been a shortage of women in STEM fields, and neither the article, nor anyone else, have presented a shred of evidence of a shortage of female or male STEM workers.

James-SantaBarbara
James-SantaBarbara

The problem is well answered by the respondents. There are not enough qualified female applicants for those positions. This problem must be solved prior to college education. And certainly before they are job seeking. I had an employer a few years ago with 3 children; the two oldest were female and extremely intelligent. I brought them article after article about the need for female engineers in the future. Any engineering degree for a woman will practically allow them to "write their own ticket" as employers were desperately trying to find qualified females for their engineering departments...but couldn't find enough that were available. The two young women ended up majoring in marketing and sociology...nothing wrong with either choice...but they were in areas of education that there was no shortage of qualified candidates.

Texas T
Texas T

IT used to be male-dominated -- over the years, I've had punchdown panels in the men's locker room... and eaten many training sessions' lunches in tittie-bars. The field has come a long way over the years, I must admit - but if someone hired a tech simply based upon their gender (either direction) instead of the skill-set they bring to the table... I would be livid. I truly think that the IT mechanical ability is not CULTIVATED in our girls. I've always laughingly said that I was the only son my Father ever had - and its really not that far from the truth. At a very early age, I helped him work on cars and household appliances. I naturally enjoyed those pursuits because I had been encouraged in them from practically toddlerhood! I have spawned two children of my own - each is mechanically inclined because I encouraged that trait in them and demonstrated it to them on a pretty much daily basis. My daughter has won state championships for welding and woodworking. Chickie can rebuild your lawnmower faster than you can hand her tools! LOL! It all goes back to the family that you came from and what was encouraged in the kids.

jfuller05
jfuller05

Equal opportunity is established in our society. Women and men alike can go after the same careers. Women and men are hired in most fields. Like some have mentioned, there are men and women in construction, plumbing, and heck, there are even some women in IT...who would have ever guessed that? Why do have to act like there isn't equal opportunity when there is equal opportunity? I truly don't understand the supposed problem here. The stage is set for people of all stripes to pursue the vocation they want in life and if few women want to pursue the IT field, why does it matter? Is the freedom for men and women to pursue their vocation not enough? Is that not satisfactory? Do we have to *make* most women interested in IT? Why do we have to do that? That isn't freedom. Freedom is letting men and women choose their own vocation regardless if more men than women freely choose IT or the opposite. If, one day, IT is "ruled" by women, then that's fine too. Let's not make problems where there are no problems.

MidwestITLady
MidwestITLady

I'm a woman who's worked in IT for over 25 years. I've definitely seen and been subject to bias against women in IT. It's been and still is very male dominated. I'm educated, experienced (in technical, analytical and management skills), motivated, have excellent performance appraisals as well as good social skills and I've had a very hard time moving up in the ranks. I agree that there are fewer women who are generally interested in IT, but for those of us who are, it's a tough road to move uphill. And one last thing...I do feel it benefits IT to have more women in general and more women in leadership roles. They bring a different perspective and are *generally* better at relationship building than men. My 2 cents.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

Remember that the voting buttons are for voting "up" or "down" based on the quality of the post and NOT whether you disagree with the person posting it. TechRepublic is trying to encourage high-quality discourse here. Vote up responses that are well thought-out and respectful (even if you disagree with them) and vote down responses that devolve into name-calling, shouting, and shallowness. That's how we make this a forum that is an excellent exchange of contradictory viewpoints. Remember, most people don't post, they just read. Let's give them a useful exchange of views.

barbaraporter
barbaraporter

Many valid points were made through this thread, but what I will say is this - while I was never strongly discouraged from pursuing technology as a hobby, and ultimately a career, I wasn't particularly ENcouraged either, and there was the occasional "honey, why do you spend so much time on that computer?" from my parents. Many young women follow their role models, they look up to those around them when deciding a career path. If they're not socializing with women in technology (because there aren't as many of us), then their view of their options becomes stilted. There's one thing I seem to share with many other women in technology - I always enjoyed being the girl who tried to compete with the boys. Not to outdo them per se, but to at least show that I could keep up, that I was up for the challenge. That's what helped drive me into tech as a career choice - I knew it was one of the toughest career choices that I could make. I particularly sought out a school where I could earn a BSci in CS instead of a BA in CS because I thought it would be harder! Many young girls are not being socialized to push themselves beyond perceived boundaries. I think this is a large contributor as to why there has been, and continues to be, a disparity between the number of men and women in the field - it's not that they're being held back, it's that they're not being pushed toward.

AZEducator
AZEducator

I will spare the reader the gory details of a lengthy IT career, since 1971, that was painfully and unethically derailed, on occasion, by the "boys club". At this point, I am a happy college instructor, with no intention of retiring, doing what I can to prepare others by teaching cutting edge content and methodologies in basic required coursework to an extremely diverse body of students. I was verbally assaulted twice by my division chair when I tried to discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion, particularly as regards our CISCO program, one of my favorites. He regrets his behavior and he still just does not get that my nurturing and mentoring skills are often the glue that gets and keeps students involved, working together, and moving toward completion. Women often bring critical skills to the table and the profession and community suffer when we are excluded. How many of y'all know who Admiral Grace Hopper was? South Mountain Community College in Phoenix will be announcing an opening for a CISCO instructor in the next couple weeks and I encourage qualified women to apply.

macmanjim
macmanjim

The clean end of the turd you can't seem to find is why aren't women going into IT? I agree with jfuller. It's not a conspiracy or some culture issue. They don't want to. Now, look at the demographics of women in regards to college and professional disciplines. They are outstripping men there. Where are the men going? Lastly, I'd like to see more people over 35-40 years old in IT. If you want to talk about discrimination or under-representation, it's agism.

3CPO
3CPO

Women in IT is a non-issue. I'm sick to death of this social engineering nonsense. As an IT worker myself, I don't give a hoot what gender someone is, the important thing is: Can this person do the job, and do they 'fit in' with the team? After that, it doesn't matter the gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation or whatever way you want to slice and the job. Are we getting stressed because there's not enough gay/lesbian/native American/Buddhists in IT? No. Because the main thing is not the demographics of the job, it's the ability to do the job. Frankly, if someone does give a hoot about this, they don't fully understand IT and have an alternate agenda, and are making an issue out of something that is not an issue. If there is a problem in any IT shop, that IT doesn't 'understand' or 'get along' with the business side of the enterprise, then that's a skills & hiring problem which is easily solved: Don't hire uber-techies with no personality, instead hire technical people with customer service backgrounds, or some other people-oriented job experience (sales, team leads). Time to move along...

LalaReads
LalaReads

I believe the ratio is .85:1 for female:male salaries. While it continues to be a sore spot for us women, we deal with this issue across the board. I'd consider this a secondary reason, not a primary one. Thanks for recognizing the issue though!

dogknees
dogknees

Get paid the same as men with the same qualifications, experience, length of continuous employment and so on. At least that is my experience.

LalaReads
LalaReads

It's too bad you've been around the wrong women. But I'm glad you didn't say something like women can't think logically or something. Please take heart that there are other types of women out there, some of which have been posting on this topic. People like the ones you've dealt with make it so much harder for the rest of us. As far as the CAT5 question, wouldn't it matter more if it were a straight or crossover cable, assuming the same connector at both ends? Though I may really be showing my lack of knowledge here since I haven't had much opportunity to work with networking stuff. Well, gotta go now. I'm way overdue in replacing the winter air in my car tires... :))

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I suspect there's good reason you have only seen those two types of female in IT.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

What is the reason "uber-techno-geeks-with-zero-soft-skills (who tend to be male)" are attracted to IT professions in such large proportion? Our societal heroes are not the inventors of the computer, the cell phone, or the GPS, but athletes. In fact, American society (and probably many others) shows a marked disdain for demonstrated intelligence, as evidenced in such terms as nerd or geek. Does this disdain discourage those who find themselves interested in IT careers, but worry more about their acceptance by society?

LalaReads
LalaReads

Very interesting way of viewing the problem. It seems to get to the crux of the matter, whereas other issues regarding the difficulties IT faces seem to dance around the issue. I wonder, if this thought were put front and center as the illness, and the lack of women in IT were treated as one of many symptoms, how much farther we could get in finding a cure. Viewing the women in IT issue in this context makes a lot of sense to me. I'm just guessing here, but I think that all of those who commented against there being an issue about women in IT would find it much more palatable to address the issue this way. And maybe this perspective is not on target either, though it seems to get much closer to it. My takeaway from RMSx32767's comment is that there is a problem and we are not asking the right questions. Until we learn to ask better questions we'll be in limbo, squabbling over the fallout and not its cause.

LalaReads
LalaReads

Like it or not, women are in the workforce and are here to stay. It is so tempting to pick this apart. Suffice it to say that, other than for jobs that *require* certain biological attributes, no job is owned by either sex. No one is required to have a career. Modern society creates an environment where one *can* have a career if one chooses to. It is *appropriately* selfish for one to create the life one wants to have, regardless of whether one's parts dangle.

Steve Ranger
Steve Ranger

The lack of women candidates is something mentioned in the first line of the story, which says CIOs "struggle to find qualified female applicants for the roles they need to fill." I think the bigger question is - why aren't there many women candidates? Why aren't they interested in IT? And more broadly, is is a good sign for an industry that half of the population doesn't want to work there? That's the real discussion surely?

andrew232006
andrew232006

females are more likely to be offered help, request help and be given help when requested in most situations. This may be beneficial in the short term, but I think it hurts them in the long term. Society needs to stop treating women like they're helpless if it wants more technically adept women. I don't think I would be in the career I'm in if someone else had been around to fix my computer or figure out how to use it to do something every time I had a problem to solve.

aflynnhpg
aflynnhpg

You can't down vote Jason's "...note about voting..." I tried (because I disagreed with the quality of your post Jason). ;-)

andrew232006
andrew232006

When I disagree with a post it is often because it is using faulty logic, is based on false information or simply misses a crucial point in my opinion. All this is related the quality of the post. I don't disagree because I think their name is stupid. It would be arrogant of me to assume that my view of the post is always right. But it's vote button, not a tar and feather button.

Professor8
Professor8

"We???re sorry, but the page you requested could not be found."

Steve Ranger
Steve Ranger

I think the point of the story is that CIOs want to hire more women because they think there is a significant business benefit as a result. There's nothing politically correct about that. And I don't think anyone is disputing that workers have to have the right skills to do the job. But don't you ever wonder why there are so few women working in IT?

LalaReads
LalaReads

I don't have a study handy to back me up, but I do believe that at high school age societal pressures are much higher on girls to conform, making it less likely that high school girls will choose a topic of study if her peers show any sort of disdain for it. Couple that with the frontal lobe not being mature yet and you have a bunch of girls choosing fields of study that fit their groups' beliefs much better than fit their own aptitudes. Once the frontal lobes mature and they have some real life experience they have already gone pretty far down their originally chosen path. Of course one can always choose to change one's profession later, but if one already has a lot invested in the first one and it reasonably allows them to feel successful one will probably stick with the first profession and just think coulda/shoulda/woulda.

RMSx32767
RMSx32767

Too many folk want to focus on the effect ("not enough women"), not the cause ("focus on uber-geeks"). There are male IT persons with excellent soft skills; I am one of them, or so I've been told.

GrayGeek
GrayGeek

I have heard it for myself in previous lives at larger companies. The H.R. department has passed along that our numbers in certain areas, women or other ethnicities were low. When we were interviewing candidates we were told to strongly look for candidates that met those criteria. The quote "If we don't we are more likely to be sued for discrimination". You can???t publicly say why so you couch it in terms ???significant business benefit???. The benefit is not being sued. Contrast that with smaller companies with smaller departments that only get so many hires. These departments are more focused on the best hire, regardless of gender or any other factor.

3CPO
3CPO

Steve: what is the 'business benefit' you speak of? Can this be met by men or women? Or are we back to the quota thing again, "we need to hire more women"? And I think you answered your own question. If you claim there are so few women working in IT, then it must be because they don't have the right skills to do the job, which no one disputes, right?

macmanjim
macmanjim

I don't wonder. For the same reason I don't wonder why most K-12 teachers are women and so are nurses. So what. People have their preferences. It's not a cultural issue. It's what people are good at and it's a result of evolution. I don't see anyone in society wondering why men aren't in roles traditionally held by women. This is just PC done in a way that seems innocuous. If you want to be fair, cast your net wider and ask broader questions of why people of a particular sex gravitate towards certain careers. Again, women are making inroads into the professions like doctors, lawyers and they are the majority of college students. Where did the men go? I might be concerned of fewer men are going to college. This leaves them at a disadvantage economically. I wonder why they are getting discouraged? :/

LalaReads
LalaReads

There is nothing wrong with some IT people not having good soft skills. Everyone has value. Many have other excellent skills that are much more important for some jobs. But "uber geeks" should have "handlers" assigned to them to mediate when they have to work with non-IT staff to minimize the chance of misunderstandings and hard feelings. If IT departments have uber geeks like this and they don't have an IT person with good soft skills to intercede they are creating their own problems. I personally witnessed this and it eventually resulted in the company being sold and everyone being laid off. I see two different things magnifying this issue of IT's difficulties working with other groups. One is layoffs in recent years. IT, like every other department, keeps those with the easily quantifiable and proven hard skills and lays off those who "merely" grease the wheels to improve interdepartmental cooperation. A bunch of different departments lay off these facilitators that help keep things on track, then everyone wonders later why projects are becoming derailed. At some point, someone says, "Hey, women are great communicators - why aren't there more women in IT?" Some start worrying about discrimination fallout, a bunch of other stuff is said, and eventually everyone "agrees" IT needs more women. This trouble shooting group is filled with like-minded people who are all approaching the problem from the same point of view. So it is decided that the problem and answer is, "We need more women in IT." The logic at arriving at that conclusion is faulty so the answer is ill-advised. The other thing is how one defines fit, which addresses the like-minded people issue. My understanding is that the definition of fit is one being able to interact well within the group and with the rest of the organization. I think many who hire define fit as one being just like the rest of the group. If one uses the second definition then the women in IT issue appears to be a bigger than it is. Hire a more diverse group of people and I think you'll end up hiring more women, but not just because they are women. p.s. Feel free to substitute the lack of women in IT topic with any other. You will most likely see the same lemming effect take hold. edit - readability

Steve Ranger
Steve Ranger

It's a good point - the lack of women in IT is one of the symptoms, not the illness itself. And you are absolutely right - there are plenty of men with soft skills. Perhaps the bigger problem is that those aren't the skills that are being valued or sought out by IT departments and that's a very short-sighted hiring plan. Any department that can't engage with the rest of the organisation will be seen as irrelevant and replaceable. Also: it's interesting that CIOs think that they can add soft skills simply by hiring women. Many women (and men) would be offended by the assumption that women have soft skills and men have tech skills. It's far more complicated than that, and perhaps that assumption says more about the CIOs and their outdated assumptions about gender roles than anything else!

LalaReads
LalaReads

And it galls me that it's used this way. And creates animosity towards the demographics it's supposed to help. Now, if it helps my resume get a little more attention I'm not going to complain (I'm not a saint). I bring a lot to the table. That being said, I also don't want to be chosen just to fill some quota, and I certainly do not want to be put into a position I am not qualified to do. That's not fair to me or to the department that now has scramble to hopefully get me up to speed and then some.

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

pursue a career in IT refers--as it should--to the *general population*, not to one gender. So by pointing out disincentives for EVERYone to go into IT, how does that make a case for women in particular? I think you lost your thunder by admitting that the 'reasons to avoid IT' are NOT gender-specific; they apply to the 'general population'....

LalaReads
LalaReads

If you focus solely on the interest aspect you are absolutely correct. However, many factors go into determining what one is interested in. One factor that most everyone will consider first is, is it reasonably attainable, closely followed by will it be fulfilling? Using becoming an astronaut as an example, if one has a significant medical issue that disqualifies them one will soon be focusing one's efforts elsewhere. And I'm not saying everyone would handle it this way but most would. Now, think about how IT is portrayed to the general population - technobabble, lots of "antisocial" people, long hours, no respect, constant learning curve, etc. My position is that there are many people out there who could have a strong interest and a lot of talent for it, but don't give it decent consideration because they can't see past the negatives. It starts sounding pretty unattainable, or unenjoyable at the minimum. Many people can't get past the negative and they can't see how it can be a great career path. This is how IT is missing out. It's not merely a question of interest.

jfuller05
jfuller05

If you've been following any of my comments in this thread or fully read this previous comment you would know I haven't been talking about qualifications. My point is the interest isn't there. So, keeping the argument of "interest" in mind, the comparison to cashier and beautician applies to what is being discussed. Those women who aren't interested in IT are just like the folks who aren't interested in being a cashier and those men who aren't interested in being a beautician. Interest, not qualifications. If I was a hiring manager, I wouldn't care about the gender, religious preference, sexual preference, or ice cream preference. What is important? Qualifications. Does the person meet or even exceed the qualifications for the job. That is the person I would hire.

LalaReads
LalaReads

Hmmm, let's see... To be a cashier it takes basic 5th grade skills and an hour of training. Beautician, about a year or so of part time training and a test or two. How does that compare to IT?

LalaReads
LalaReads

I do agree with you that the qualifications issue is a big one, but I would hate for everyone to read your response and think, "Yeah, he's got a good point, n'uf said," and let it drop there. This issue needs to be part of the solution. I think one of the things that contributes to the problem is that many IT positions seem to require constant attention to updating your skillset - eating and breathing IT and reading the boards on TR backs up this perception. Some people *love* to do this, but many more feel such crushing pressure to keep up. It's quite intimidating. Personally, I love to work with data, databases and understanding the interdependencies with that and the rest of IT. I have no problem working late fairly often, but once I leave the office I don't want to think about it. I have a family to think about too, so work/life balance is an issue. That is a big issue for many women, or men for that matter. Constant 24/7 availability and independent learning requirements need to addressed, not only to attract more women - and men - but also to reduce burnout for the great IT guys - and women.

jfuller05
jfuller05

It's that the interest just isn't there. Not every single man is interested in IT either. It's actually very simple, but steve and the others just don't understand. It's not a conspiracy against women the answer is in the interest. But then, I guess the question would be, "Why isn't there a strong interest in IT for most women?" I would answer, "I don't know at this point, but I do know IT doesn't have to change to attract those uninterested women and even men who aren't interested in the field." Not every person is attracted to operating a cashier for a career. Few men are attracted to the beautician business. Why? Not sure, but I know the beautician field is just fine without a 50% men and 50% women working in that field. It's the beauty of freedom baby.