We’ve all heard about the serious dearth of women in tech roles. At Google, for example, women make up 30% of the company’s workforce, but hold 17 percent of the company’s tech jobs. At Facebook, women fill 15 percent of tech roles. At Twitter, it’s just 10 percent.
Worse yet, women stand to gain one new STEM job for every 20 that are lost in other disrupted industries.
But how do we close the tech industry gender gap? Last week’s inaugural Talent Innovation Summit, sponsored by the Women Tech Council and held at Adobe’s Utah office, aimed to get the conversation started. Senior executives, HR personnel, business leaders, and a standing-room-only crowd gathered to discuss how to recruit and retain women in tech roles.
The consensus? It’s complicated. But the first step is admitting the problem, and keeping the conversation going.
Here’s a recap:
WTC president and co-founder Cydni Tetro, kicked things off.
“If we don’t have the conversation, nothing happens. @cydtetro”
Josh James, keeping it real and offering advice on how to find and hire more women in tech:
"Don't look for diversity, look for talent and diversity will come." – @joshjames on hiring #womenintech @WomenTechCncl
— Domo (@Domotalk) February 3, 2016
Domo CMO Heather Zynczak, proposing a solution to address the gender wage gap:
Positions in tech pay 102% more. Getting women in tech is how we close the pay gap. – @hzynczak #womentechcouncil pic.twitter.com/rW327uW24E
— Alisa Gammon (@AlisaGammon) February 3, 2016
A @WomenTechCncl attendee on the importance of having more than one woman in the board room:
Seems obvious but let's repeat: having leadership and role models that look like you matters, creates opportunity seeking. @WomenTechCncl
— Kaneischa Johnson (@SceneSister) February 3, 2016
Josh James agreed:
“You shouldn’t be OK being the only woman in the room. When you are the only one or two women on the board, it’s noticed. When it goes up to three or four women, that distinction goes away.”
The good news? It seems the tide may already be turning. In late 2015, Stanford reported that Computer Science has become the most popular major for female students. Organizations like Girls Who Code and the National Girls Collaborative Project educate, inspire, and equip girls to pursue opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). In the meantime, Domo’s VP of Human Resources had some sage advice for women climbing the tech ladder:
"You can have it all. You just can't have it all at once. Make your choices and seize your opportunities." ~@cathydonahoe #womenintech
— WomenTechCouncil (@WomenTechCncl) February 3, 2016