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More equitable tech workplaces are on the rise

Technology is getting more inclusive when it comes to opportunities for women in IT.

In addition to creating initiatives to increase the number of women working in technology, more companies (31%) said they provide career development programs for women once they’ve been hired — a 41% increase from the previous two years, according to the “Harvey Nash Women in Technology: Building Momentum” study.

According to data, more than a quarter (29%) of respondents said their companies offer programs to support recruiting and hiring of women in technology. In addition, a year after the #MeToo movement was born, 43% of women said the spotlight is making the technology industry more welcoming.

Nearly half (46%) of respondents said that diversity and inclusion are truly part of their company’s DNA. Authenticity remains a question, though, with almost the same number (39%) saying those efforts seem more like “checking a box.”

While companies are moving in the right direction, more needs to be done, particularly to close the pay gap and improve working environments between men and women in technology. For example, even though 51% of women find working in technology financially rewarding (up from 35% two years ago), there still remains a wide gap between men and women. Just 30% of women believe their company pays men and women equally, compared to 68% of men who believe the same. Those proportions remain similar across salary levels.

Despite 43% of women reporting the #MeToo movement has had a positive impact in the workplace, the number of women who said their work environment remains unwelcoming is still up year-over-year, moving from 30% last year to 35% this year.

Recruitment and career development programs for women are also as failing to directly impact retention. For example, one third of women (33%) cite an unsupportive environment as a deciding factor in leaving their last job, compared to 23% of men. Nearly a quarter (23%) of women moved on in part due to unfair treatment, compared to 13% of men.

Respondents also ranked the demanding work environment as one of the top challenges of working in IT. In addition, 31% share that balancing other life commitments with work is a top weakness.

Work/life balance is a challenge for both genders, as 44% of men and 48% of women said that family responsibilities threaten to slow their careers. For women, the slowdown may be felt more acutely, though, as more than twice as many women as men say having a family translates into lost opportunities for advancement or equal pay, at 57% and 28%, respectively.

“Even the most well-meaning business leaders may exhibit an unconscious bias towards those who are more like the current team,” said Sean Gilligan, president, Technology Recruitment for Harvey Nash. “That’s why corporations must help their employees become comfortable with having uncomfortable conversations.”

While there has been a “big jump in companies implementing programs to better support women, but it has to change company-wide,” he added. “You have to really want the culture to change and put the hard work in to move beyond the awareness stage into meaningful progress.”
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