Over the past decade, the percentage of women in the IT field has been decreasing. It's a disturbing trend, and I know a few women who have left IT, and they have been very candid with me about why they left. One of the factors has definitely been the perceived lack of opportunity for career advancement. And it doesn't help that technology can be a family-unfriendly field (because of hours and scheduling), for both women and men.
That's why I'm very encouraged to see that when the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) released their annual list of the top companies for female executives this week, it included tech giant IBM in the prestigious top 10 (which also included bellweathers Marriott, Aetna, and Gannett).
Why did IBM make the list? According to NAFE: "At the most progressive companies, like IBM ... targeted programs ensure women gain P & L [profit and loss] experience, while also emphasizing compensation equity, manager accountability for the advancement of women, and stellar training programs."
According to NAFE's statistics, only 10 of 500 CEOs at America's largest companies are women, and women occupy only 16% of corporate officer spots and 15% of board member positions.
Other tech companies that made NAFE's 2007 top 30 were Hewlett-Packard, Texas Instruments, and Xerox. Anyone else notice the tech giants that are conspicuously absent, such as Microsoft, Apple, Intel, and Dell? I'd be interested to hear from people that work at those companies to get their perspectives on this.
Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks.