Many women in tech face harassment and inequality in the workplace
A significant number of women working in tech experience physical and verbal harassment over the course of their careers, and nearly half (44%) in the United States have seen an increase in workplace sexual harassment in the past five years. according to a new report from managed service provider Ensono.
The company surveyed 1,500 women this year evenly distributed across the US, UK and India to better understand the experiences of women working in the tech industry, looking at topics including learning and development career paths, workplace harassment and gender equality.
The third annual Speak Up survey released on Thursday found that one in five women (22%) in the US and India say they have been the victim of verbal abuse at work, with the UK following close behind at 21%. In the UK, women reported more subtle forms of discrimination, such as micro-aggressions (23%) or being fired in groups (25%).
Additionally, 91% of Latina women and 72% of Black women said they had been discouraged or experienced career setbacks, compared to 64% of White women.
“For our Speak Up initiative this year, we chose to focus on what is changing for women pursuing tech careers and the unique needs and experiences of women around the world,” explained Meredith Graham, Director of Resources human resources at Ensono, in a press release. “Clearly there is still a lot of work to be done to promote and implement real change for women in the workplace, especially in tech, which is a male-dominated industry.”
Career Opportunities and Advancement Challenges for Women in Tech
The study found that women feel discouraged from pursuing STEAM careers. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said they had been discouraged or experienced setbacks while pursuing a career in technology. These setbacks range from being discouraged to pursue a STEAM career in high school or earlier (45%), feeling that the career path was male-dominated (44%) and being told that the career path was too difficult for women (36%).
Women in tech are interested in learning and development, but in the US and UK only a third of women said their company offers training programs or academies. Meanwhile, 60% of women said they had heard employers say a lack of skills was holding them back.
Another important finding was that in all locations, women shared that their companies made female applicants feel they needed to “prove themselves” more than male applicants. More than a quarter of women across all countries surveyed also said their companies interview more men than women.
One in 10 American women said female candidates experienced harassment in interviews, with even higher rates of occurrence in India and the UK. According to the report, women in India are also more likely to be asked questions about their family life than women in the US or UK.
While 24% of lower-level employees and 19% of mid-level employees somewhat or strongly disagree that their company treats male and female employees equally, that number drops to just 12% of senior managers and only 7% of those of the C-suite.
With 20% of women surveyed saying they will be looking for a new job in the next year, the demand for learning and training initiatives presents an opportunity for employers to invest in the career development of women workers. technology, according to the report.
Pay inequality for women in tech
In the UK, more than a quarter of women surveyed said men and women are not treated the same in the workplace, and almost a third of women think their companies pay men and women unequally, which is higher than US respondents. The differing experiences of women across regions is an important distinction for global tech organizations, the report notes.
SEE: How pay transparency can help close the gender pay gap in tech (TechRepublic)
Based on the data in the report, the C-suite is disconnected from gender pay equity. When it comes to pay, 29% of lower-level employees, 23% of mid-level employees, and 25% of higher-level employees somewhat or strongly disagree that their company pays men and women equally. equal. This is true for only 6% of the C suite.
More remote and hybrid work opportunities for female tech workers
On a more positive note, 85% of women in tech believe they have more job opportunities through remote and hybrid work, and 82% of women in tech said remote and hybrid work had made them happier, according to the report. This indicates that the flexibility of remote work has had a positive impact on women and their careers, particularly at the regional level, according to the report.
How to Reduce Barriers for Women in Tech
It’s important that business leaders not only listen to women talk about their experiences, but also create a culture of communication and advocacy to help reduce the barriers women face every day, Graham said in a statement.
Additionally, organizations should “continue to challenge themselves to reduce bias, prevent harassment, and create a more inclusive environment for people of all genders,” Ensono advised in a blog post about the investigation. “They should provide training and development opportunities with the goal of attracting, retaining and developing female tech leaders.”
Gender equity is still a work in progress, Ensono noted. Businesses can ensure they stay ahead of the curve by keeping these issues in mind.