Achieving gender balance in ICT

Take a look around most programming offices anywhere in the world, and it's likely you will encounter one overwhelming statistic - the vast majority of people working in this industry are men. According to research from Deloitte, women comprise less than 20 per cent of the ICT workforce in Australia, concerning figures in an age when society is supposed to be moving towards greater gender equality.

It's not just Australia however, as many of the world's biggest digital companies also suffer from the same inequality. Take Twitter for example, one of the biggest social networking platforms around, and a cornerstone of modern digital media. According to a blog post by the firm's former Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Janet Van Huysse, just 10 per cent of their global tech workforce are women, compared 50 per cent for non-tech roles.

Achieving gender equality mustn't be relegated to just one day a year.

International Women's Day is a time for us to take stock of how we are evening the playing field for women in the workplace, however achieving equality mustn't be relegated to just one day a year. When it comes to IT recruitment in Australia, taking advantage of the talented women we have on offer can be a great way to set your company apart, and bringing fresh, original visions to projects.

Gender division in senior ICT positions

In a 2014 survey from Gartner, it was found that the percentage of women in chief information officer roles had remained relatively stagnant for the previous decade. With so much of the modern business environment dependent on digital technology, big data and all manner of IT-adjacent concerns, the position has rapidly become one of the most important in a company.

In fact, in CIO Magazine's 2015 State of the CIO survey, 85 per cent of respondents felt that the role was more important to their organisation now than ever. With that increased profile and importance - not to mention salary potential - it may seem unusual that so few women are attracted to the field compared to men.

Women have a great deal to offer in the ICT sector.

Women in Australian digital IT recruitment

There's little argument that to allow women to gain the skills and experience necessary to reach the upper echelons of ICT positions, the business world needs to do more to encourage them into the digital workforce. Precisely how to do that, however, is yet to be clearly defined. 

In an article for The Conversation, Karin Verspoor from University of Melbourne's Computing and Information Systems Department outlined some crucial moves to be made:

  • Start early and encourage creativity: Computers and other devices are commonplace in the classroom nowadays, so teaching young girls to be innovative and creative with modern tools can spark an interest early on.
  • Champion the success of others: With figures such as those above, considering the ICT industry as a "boy's club" is understandable. Highlighting those women who have made their mark - people like Van Huysse, or, closer to home, Pip Marlow at Microsoft, Maile Carnegie at Google and Kate Burleigh at Intel - can show the career potential in the sector.
  • Break free of old stereotypes: The notion of activities targeted at boys and girls as separate groups needs to be stripped out of IT education altogether. Setting the genders apart only reinforces the idea of women as outsiders, arguably making the industry somewhat intimidating.

Whether you are a woman seeking career opportunities in ICT, or an organisation looking to improve your performance around gender equality, finding the right opportunities can be difficult given the nature of the industry. This search doesn't have to be conducted alone, however.

If you're in search of an effective recruitment agency in Sydney, contact The Recruitment Company today.

By Carly Pattison