CXO

Report: Women have stronger digital skills, yet men dominate the tech industry

New research from the Brookings Institution breaks down who holds highly-digital positions by race, gender, and location.

Digitalization is quickly changing the employment landscape of the US, with major implications for job growth and employee skills development, according to a recent report from the Brookings Institution.

About one-third of the 13 million new jobs created in the US since 2012 have required high-level digital skills, the report found. And nearly two-thirds of new jobs mandated either high- or medium-level digital skills.

In terms of gender, men continue to dominate the highest-level digital jobs, including those in computer, engineering, and management fields, as well as lower-digital occupations such as transportation, construction, natural resources, and building and grounds occupations.

But interestingly, women had slightly higher digital scores than men did (48 to 45), and represent about three-quarters of the workforce in many of the largest mid-level digital positions. This group includes jobs in healthcare, office administration, and education.

SEE: IT leader's guide to achieving digital transformation (Tech Pro Research)

In terms of race, white employees remain overrepresented in high-level digital occupation groups (such as engineering and management), as well as mid-level ones (including business and finance, the arts, and legal and education professions).

Asian employees made up about 21% of highly digital computer and math occupations, and 12% of engineering roles. Black employees were overrepresented in mid-level digital occupations such as office and administrative support and community and social service, as well as in low-digital level jobs such as transportation, personal care, and building and grounds maintenance. Hispanic employees were significantly underrepresented in high-level digital positions, including in the technical, business, and finance occupation groups. They were also somewhat underrepresented in mid-level legal, sales, and education positions, the report found.

The report's findings seems to echo those of other research that found women and people of color face greater barriers to entry to computer science and other technical fields. And while Asians are overrepresented in terms of the entry-level workforce, they are among the least likely to be promoted into leadership positions, according to a recent report from Ascend. However, given that women's digital scores surpass those of men, it's clear that this represents an untapped talent pool.

SEE: The state of women in computer science: An investigative report (PDF)

"While digitalization holds out significant opportunities for less-educated or historically marginalized workers or groups to move up the employment ladder, too few of them appear to be making that progress," the report stated.

Digitization by city

While digitization is occurring across the country, certain regions have progressed farther than others, the report found. And the extent to which an area digitizes was strongly associated with changes in regional economic performance.

Here are the top 10 most highly-digital metro areas, by their 2016 mean digital score:

  1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
  2. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
  3. Austin-Round Rock, TX
  4. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT
  5. Salt Lake City, UT
  6. Raleigh, NC
  7. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
  8. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
  9. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
  10. Madison, WI

States' median wages correlate with their mean digital scores, the report found. The District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Connecticut are all highly ranked in terms of digital scores, and see median wages of $55,000 or more. In Nevada, which has a much lower digital score, the median wage is $43,000.

The rise in more digital-based jobs nationwide requires new ways of thinking about training employees. To learn more about how your company can expand the high-skill IT talent pipeline, click here.

Want to use this data in your next business presentation? Feel free to copy and paste these top takeaways into your next slideshow.

  • Of the 13 million new jobs created in the US since 2012, 4 million have required high-level digital skills. -The Brookings Institution, 2017
  • Women have slightly higher digital scores than men do (48 to 45), yet men dominate highly-digital positions in the computational and management fields. -The Brookings Institution, 2017
  • The three most highly-digital metro areas were San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA, Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH, and Austin-Round Rock, TX. -The Brookings Institution, 2017
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Image: iStockphoto/Wavebreakmedia

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About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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