Tech firms lagging behind in advancing women

Technology firms are lagging behind in advancing women, according to a study by McKinsey and LeanIn.Org.

A laptop, mac and tablet on a deskThe report found that not only are women lacking in all levels of technology roles, but that the majority of those women believe their gender is holding them back in workplace.

The report found that women make up 36.8% of the entry-level jobs in the tech industry, whereas women account for nearly half of entry-level jobs in other industries.

The findings were a result of a report across 26 tech firms that surveyed 9,000 male and female employees.

Of the female employees questioned 29.9% said they believe their gender played a role in missing out on a promotion or pay rise. 37.1% said they feel their gender will be a disadvantage to them in the future. In non-tech industries 21.6% and 22.8% where found to feel the same way.

Discussing the report Julia Hartz, co-founder and president of online ticketing platform Eventbrite told the Wall Street Journal: "If you can’t see an example of what you could be, you really aren’t going to have that extra incentive to break through any types of barriers."

Several tech firms have launched programmes to increase the amount of women taking up careers in IT. BT, O2, Vodafone and Ericsson recently joined forces to launch a scheme to encourage girls to take up careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The programme called ‘Step into STEM’ will be working with Girls Talk London, to offer young women advice on how to reach senior business roles. The programme is currently a pilot, with the aim of rolling it out across the UK in the future.

Girls Talk London selected 20 year 12 students last month from four schools in London to take part in the mentoring programe. The schools are King Solomon Academy, St Michael’s Catholic School, Heathcote School and Our Lady’s Convent School.

The chosen few have been matched with a mentor from the four companies. They each receive one monthly session until October where they learn about their chosen roles and get advice on how to enter them. A week’s work experience at one of the companies in July will also be offered.