While innovation has flooded the tech sector, the same can’t be said for gender equity. In 2017, more than three in four tech jobs were held by men, and women in the industry are currently 21% less likely to be promoted than a male coworker at the same level. While companies preach the vitality of diversity and inclusion, the negative work environment for women in tech remains static, according to a recent Paychex report.

The report surveyed 200 women in tech job positions across the US to assess the current state of gender bias in the tech sphere. The majority of respondents (67%) listed feeling underestimated or not taken seriously by their peers at work as the biggest challenge they face in their jobs.

SEE: Hiring kit: Chief diversity officer (Tech Pro Research)

Some 65% of women in tech reported receiving over-explained responses to questions, making that the second largest challenge, and 61% cited getting oversimplified answers to technical questions, according to the report.

The stereotype that women and tech don’t go together is both outdated and incorrect: 31% of women in the tech industry said they entered the field by following their passion for computers and technology, the report found.

Perceptions of gender bias in the tech workplace are exacerbated in the California Bay Area, which is one of the world’s biggest hubs for technology. More than half (53%) of women in the Bay Area have considered switching jobs because of day-to-day interactions with male colleagues, and nearly one in three have considered changing careers entirely, according to the report.

In the Bay Area, 90% of tech executives surveyed were men, and that percentage is almost the same (89%) in the rest of the country, the report found. According to ISACA, 48% of women listed a lack of female mentorship as one of their top barriers in the workplace.

Mentorship is vital for everyone in the workforce, but especially for women who experience a lack of representation and feelings of isolation. These feelings, paired with the stigma of women in tech, can result in imposter syndrome–the feeling that you do not deserve, are not prepared, or are not qualified for the job position you hold.

Many people advocate for mentorship as a way to combat imposter syndrome, as a mentor can act as a confidant and leader for someone who needs the assurance and guidance–an experience that could prove extremely valuable for women in tech.

Check out this TechRepublic article to learn how gender inclusion can help your business succeed in digital transformation efforts.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • 67% of women listed feeling underestimated as the biggest challenge of working in the tech field. — Paychex, 2018
  • 90% of tech executives in the Bay Area are men, and the number is almost the same (89%) for the rest of the country. — Paychex, 2018