In the last three decades technology has completely transformed the way work, communicate – even the way we sit on the couch (ASOS scrolling while watching TV, anyone?) – and the sector is certainly set to continue shaping our lives. Who will be the brains behind this innovation? According to the statistics, men, for the most part. If computer coding is the dialect of our digital world, women might have more use for Swahili.
In 2013, The New York Times reported that women accounted for fewer than a quarter of the engineers at most tech companies in America, with female coders coming a smidge better at 26 per cent. These figures are set to the fall, with the US Department of Labor predicting that by 2020, of the 1.4 million computing jobs around, only three per cent will be filled by women.
What’s with that? Women are levelling the field across pretty much every other area in industry and education, so why is tech not in on the balancing act? Many reasons have been cited – a dip in female computer science graduates, for one – which leads to another question. Why don’t women want to work in this sector?
A paper published in the journal of Personality and Social Psychology theorised that there’s subtle gender bias in the wording of job listings in male-dominated areas. And even if a woman gets a foot in, Glassdoor’s recent gender pay gap survey revealed males earn upwards of 24 per cent more than women in the US tech industry, while the gap in Australia in 17 per cent. Researchers from Harvard University discovered that women in the field often don’t get the title or salary that typically accompanies a promotion, and the situation grows murkier still around motherhood and maternity leave. How good’s that job in tech looking now, ladies?
But hold up, there’s hope. The current surge of start-ups has opened an exciting new entry point for women, and a growing crop of new upstarts are helping female jobseekers find tech companies where their careers can thrive. Here are three that have caught our attention:
Capitalising on word of mouth, this one allows women to create profiles and comment anonymously on their experiences at the companies where they currently work or were previously employed. Born of co-founder Georgene Huang’s frustrations as a jobseeker, pregnant with her second child at the time, it’s little wonder that Fairgodboss makes a point of summarising the benefits companies offer around on-site childcare and flexible work hours, and has been dubbed the “Yelp for maternity leave benefits.”
It’s kind of like Tinder for tech workers. Doxa bolsters a “movement to promote transparency” through what it claims to be the world’s first collection of employee experiences and data gleaned from tech companies around diversity, benefits and policies. It creates company profiles based on these insights and uses a dating site-style algorithm to match users with potential good fits – at big names companies including Eventbrite, Kiva, Lyft, Shyp, and Instacart, who’ve already jumped on board.
The brainchild of working mums Katharine Zaleski and Milena Berry, PowerToFly puts the focus on finding your dream job and doing from anywhere – matching working-from-home women with opportunities in the tech sector (and promising to deliver that ever-desirable work-life balance). Their database currently sports more than 60,000 highly skilled women, and the companies coming to them include Hearst, BuzzFeed and the Washington Post.