Survey: Skills shortage blamed on lack of women in IT

Women hold just a quarter of all tech jobs in the U.S. And a new survey suggests that may be hurting IT departments’ performance. 

Women hold 56% of all professional jobs in the U.S. — but just 25% of tech jobs. Exactly why that’s the case and what, if anything, should be done is the subject of frequent debate — some say women are just less interested in technology, while others argue that businesses and academic institutions should do more to encourage women to enter the field.

Whatever the case, most IT managers think their departments would be better off with more of a gender balance, according to a recent survey from Harvey Nash. Among the 2,400 IT leaders from 20 different countries surveyed, 68% believe their teams are missing vital skills because of low representation from women.

Survey respondents said having more women on the IT staff would improve:

  1. Relationships with internal customers (cited by 51%)
  2. Team cohesion and morale (48%), and
  3. Creativity and innovation (46%).

Although those leaders want to hire more women for IT jobs, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do — 88% of male IT leaders and 75% of female IT leaders said there are a lack of qualified female candidates out there.

One problem keeping companies from recruiting more female IT employees is a lack of women in IT management roles, according to Harvey Nash. More than a third of the survey respondents said their organization doesn’t have any female technology managers at all, and 81% said fewer than a quarter of management roles were filled by women.

For departments that want to recruit and retain more women in the IT department, one tactic recommended by the National Center for Women & Information Technology is creating a mentoring program. Women currently on staff can be a valuable resource for new and potential hires.

For more on the issue, view our infographic on women in technology.

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