Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is an industry that continues to do well in the global economy, enjoying consistent job growth, rising salaries and a rosy future outlook. Yet there is still one area that the industry struggles with, a shocking deficit of women in the workforce. Women are significantly underrepresented in the Australian ICT sector compared to the wider professional workforce, comprising around ¼ of all ICT workers. There is also a significant income gap across the ICT workforce with women on average earning 20% less than men. (Australia Computer Society 2015 report “Australia’s Digital Pulse”)
A recent study in the U.S. stated that in middle school, 74% of girls express interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), but when choosing a college major, just 0.4% of high school girls select computer science.
Statistics like this are common around the world, with women underrepresented in the industry. One resounding question persists: “Why?” Is there a lack of flexibility in the workplace? Could the male-dominated industry be a contributing factor deterring women from entering ICT? Or could the fact that average earnings tend to be lower for women in the ICT workforce with an average pay gap of around 20% be the reason?
While the statistics are bleak, make no mistake, passions have been ignited and there are many working to attract women to ICT. Social media is filled with supportive memes and videos, and organizations are working diligently to encourage girls to plan for a future in technology.
- Girls Who Code, a U.S.-based nonprofit working to close the gender gap in technology by inspiring girls to pursue computer science by exposing them to real life and on screen role models.
- Stanford University released a documentary about recruiting women to study computing that was screened in 11 countries and started the She++ movement complete with mentorship, challenges and a community to support women in ITC.
- Google launched Made with Code aimed at inspiring girls to try coding.
- In Australia, organizations such as Women in Technology and the Australian Computer Society provide ongoing training, support and networking.
No matter what, the industry is in dire need of qualified female professionals. The ability to focus on innovation, creativity, and design-thinking skills as applied to the ICT world is something that women excel in and essential for addressing the changing nature of the digital world.
If you’re a part of the ICT sector and are ready to create new connections, increase your income, and prepare for new opportunities, the first step is to be bold and stand out. Here at Top Margin, we can help you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll tell you how.