Gender gap closing in IT but compensation still an issue: Survey

Women in IT seeking more female colleagues, role models

Gender differences in overall career satisfaction and career progression in the IT profession in the United States have equalized over the previous year, according to the 2011 Technisource Women in Information Technology Report. However, significant variances still exist in how men and women view compensation equality and the belief that one gender faces differing challenges in their careers.

"It is very encouraging to see so many of the differing factors of how men and women view employment within the technology field starting to stabilize and reach equal levels," said Alisia Genzler, vice-president of the northeast region of Technisource. "Yet, there is still a battle for perception of equality around compensation and the greater societal issue of promoting IT as a career path for young women.”

Men value compensation more than their female counterparts and female IT professionals value flexibility more than their male counterparts, found the survey.

Only 15 per cent of women believe that compensation is equal between men and women and only 38 per cent of the male respondents do perceive equality (down from 46 per cent the previous year), found the survey of 526 workers.

When asked about the most important factors to men and women for career satisfaction, 28 per cent of men chose compensation compared to 20 per cent of women, whereas, 21 per cent of women chose flexibility versus 14 per cent of men, found the survey.

The biggest change over 2010 was that both sexes chose being challenged as the top factor at 34 percent and 33 per cent, respectively.

Thirteen per cent of women working in IT believe there is not a glass ceiling that restricts their employment growth — down seven percentage points from 2010. Thirty-four per cent of men believe there is no glass ceiling restricting women's career growth in IT, found the survey.

The percentage of women who said they have or have had a mentor dropped from 33 per cent in 2010 to 27 per cent in 2011. Seventy-seven per cent of women do not believe there are enough role models for women (versus 60 per cent of men).

Eighty-four per cent of women believe the IT field could use more women, compared to 67 per cent of men.

Both men (60 per cent) and women (68 per cent) believe that public campaigns highlighting IT as a good choice for women is the best way to convince young girls to choose technology as a career path.

More than three-quarters 75 per cent of women believe female workers face a different set of career challenges than their male counterparts (compared to 55 per cent of men).

“Employers need to recognize that both men and women are not only looking to be fairly compensated, but also desire to be mentored and challenged in their career,” said Genzler. “Those that don't constantly strive to provide that challenge will end up losing top talent to the competition."

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