Top 3 deterrents for women in IT, according to one survey

While there’s a lot of debate over what, if anything, should be done about it, women in IT are a significant minority. A new survey highlights some of the reasons. 

While women hold 56% of all professional jobs in the U.S., just 25% of tech jobs are held by women. The disparity gets even more stark as you move up the ranks, as only 11% of Fortune 500 tech company executives are women, and women own just 5% of tech start-ups.

Some observers say organizations should do more to attract women in IT, including steps such as reworking job descriptions, promoting more women to leadership positions and offering more flexible work arrangements that could be especially appealing to working mothers.

On the other hand, many also argue that there are fewer women in IT simply because fewer women are interested in technology.

What’s really behind the small number of female tech workers? There’s no one easy answer, according to a recent survey conducted by online job marketplace Elance.

Among the 7,000 male and female IT freelancers polled, the top deterrents to women pursuing technology careers are:

  • A lack of encouragement and female role models in IT (cited by 45% of women and 43% of men)
  • Common “geek” stereotypes about IT workers (30%/36%), and
  • A lack of interest in the technology culture (20%/34%).

Do female IT workers get fair pay?

When asked what could help women become more successful in IT, the top answer given was equal pay for employees with equal skill sets, cited by 65% of women and 46% of men.

A recent study from job board Dice.com found that the pay gap between men and women working in the same IT jobs has mostly disappeared. While male tech workers do make more, the difference comes mostly from men holding positions higher up the company ladder.

According to Dice, IT is a more skills-driven field, so both men and women in IT are compensated based on their knowledge and how they apply it to real world problems, with other factors having less of an impact than might in other types of jobs.

In addition, the two sides are almost equally satisfied with how much they’re paid, as 58% of women say they’re happy with their current salary, as do 56% of men.

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