Fewer women in top U.S. tech jobs since 2010: survey

NEW YORK Mon May 14, 2012 12:55pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of women in senior technology positions at U.S. companies is down for the second year in a row, according to a survey published on Monday.

Nine percent of U.S. chief information officers (CIOs) are female, down from 11 percent last year and 12 percent in 2010, according to the survey by the U.S. arm of British technology outsourcing and recruitment company Harvey Nash Group.

About 30 percent of those polled said their information technology (IT) organization has no women at all in management. Yet only about half of survey respondents consider women to be under-represented in the IT department.

Although women have reached senior positions at Facebook, Xerox, IBM, Oracle and other large companies, they are absent at the top of many IT departments. That makes it hard to draw others to senior roles.

"Less and less women are attracted into that space so you wind up creating a self-fulfilling prophecy," said Anna Frazzetto, senior vice president of international technology solutions, at Harvey Nash USA. "It's not a very welcoming arena to be in."

Women also face the "preconceived notion" that they are focused on other priorities like starting a family. That bias is damaging to IT departments because many struggle to find qualified workers.

The survey, conducted with TelecityGroup, included responses from 450 U.S. technology leaders. It is part of a wider, global survey that found increasing tech budgets and more visible roles for CIOs.

A majority of those surveyed said their organization is facing a skills shortage in areas such as business analysis and project management.

"The skills shortage is the biggest it's ever been, and it's going to cause companies to get a little more creative in shifting the culture of organizations," Frazzetto said.

That shift is already taking place at small companies, but large ones have yet to change their culture, she said.

While the U.S. average of 9 percent female CIOs has declined, it is higher than the global average of 7 percent, Harvey Nash found.

(This story has been corrected after the company revised figure in final paragraph to 7 percent, from 3 percent.)

(Reporting by Nick Zieminski in New York; Editing by Jan Paschal)

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Comments (3)
LogicLover wrote:
Well when you pay a woman less for doing the same job while adding more responsibilities they aren’t going to stay. I was told to expect to earn $10,000 less for my degree alone. Sexism is alive and well. I won’t work for an IT company ever again because of this sexism. I have a life too and if the men just can’t be “bothered” to be on call 24/7 then don’t waste my time either. It’s pathetic that they are assuming without asking women what’s going on. Why should I get deeper into student loan debt than a man for the same degree and expect to earn $10,000 LESS? How is that degree even worth it? It’s not. Stop printing assumptions and start asking women why they still aren’t breaking that glass ceiling. We know why. We are second-guessed all the time, spoken to in condescending tones / manner, deal with sexism if we don’t party, are passed over for raises, and generally dismissed by all males in upper management. This isn’t the case just for IT companies either. Some female engineers were told their job during an entire presentation was just to pass out the paper work and not say a word. What happened to actually researching the problem before reporting on assumptions? Women are easy to talk to so is it really that hard to set up an interview?

May 15, 2012 8:50am EDT  --  Report as abuse
economicgps wrote:
With women taking over the C-Level positions in Corporate America the demand for female technology managers will grow. As a former IT business owner the importance of serving clients in house and out with men and women, tech and non tech can not be stated strongly enough. Many clients have female directors and decision makers and like to see other women in your company at similar positions. Some clients select service provision on gender to a large extent. This is not the norm but why position your department or company in a less competitive position. If having a female engineer closes one large account that you would otherwise not have closed – the hiring and training of female technical engineers is worth it. From my experience there is always one large client that breaks your way or not based on gender. We like to think it is our brains people want. Generally clients want someone they can relate to and understands their business needs. Sometimes this is a gender communications channel. The best messenger may be female and for some clients it is the only messenger that will work for them. Much of the reluctance to hiring female techs is the corporate culture of the tech department and has nothing to do with skill or ability to perform.

Ultimately, if you want to survive in the market the demographics of your corporation should mirror your target market.

May 15, 2012 11:35am EDT  --  Report as abuse
LBK2 wrote:
Are numbers down because of lack of interest or prejudice or is it due the recession and lack of actual jobs?

May 18, 2012 5:04pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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