It’s hardly a secret that IT jobs, and the wider science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industries, are male dominated.
A recent survey of more than 26,000 programmers found that 92 percent of software developers are men, and last year Apple and Google revealed that 70 percent of their global workforces were male, respectively.
But these statistics largely apply to the US IT sector, and aren’t necessarily reflective of New Zealand’s bourgeoning tech sector.
So just how is New Zealand’s tech industry for women?
Figures from ITSalaries.co.nz show currently 79 percent of the New Zealand tech workforce is male. While this isn’t the 50/50 split many would love to see, it is a 2 percent improvement on 2013 figures.
Who’s making the money in IT jobs: men or women?
Here in New Zealand, data pulled from ITSalaries.co.nz shows there are pay discrepancies between men and women.
At present, there is a 7.2 percent difference nationally, with less in specific skills areas that are clearly suited to/favoured by women such as, perhaps, consultancy (0 percent difference), business analyst (2.4 percent) and management (5.5 percent).
“What however is more relevant and important to highlight is at what point in a tech professionals career these gaps are appearing,” says Grant Burley, Director, Absolute IT.
“When we look at IT salaries earned over time relative to years experience, up until around 10 years experience women in the tech sector are matching men dollar for dollar in the salary base department.”
So what happens after this?
“We can see a slight downturn in women’s salaries after 10 years,” Burley explains.
“The biggest difference between men and women can been seen around 11-15 years experience at 9 percent, but by 16-20 years experience the gap has significantly reduced to 3.5 percent.”
According to Burley, this dip isn’t isolated to the technology industry and is felt across the board, with many women choosing to take time out for their families.
“Women are more likely to take time off work to have babies, raise a family, or look after elderly family members than men,” Burley claims.
Family Caregiver NZ research shows that, overwhelmingly, women will alter their work life to address family care issues.
Here are some fast facts:
• 33 percent of working women decreased work hours
• 29 percent passed up a job promotion, training or assignment
• 22 percent took a leave of absence
• 20 percent switched from full-time to part-time employment
• 16 percent quit their jobs
• 13 percent retired early
“Taking time out of any profession is going to affect any future career prospects, and for women it seems this circumstance is more likely than for men,” Burley adds.
Women studying for IT jobs
In 2015, the number of women studying computer science and IT is seen to be dropping, with 1 in 5 IT students identifying as female.
Burley says that despite the low numbers of women studying IT, there are plenty of IT jobs out there for women.
“We are finding placements for women, and men, across the board,” he adds. “More often than not women are better communicators and technically skilled, a great asset to any workplace.
“IT also offers great salaries compared to other industries. What we’re labelling ‘tech jobs’ and ‘IT jobs’ these days isn’t just limited to computer science and programming.
“Working in the digital space offers many unique tech opportunities that the traditional IT and technology sphere never did, and many of these growing areas are filling up with women.
“Particularly those that focus on relationship building and good communication skills.”
Digital Marketing & Communications
Marketing and communications used to be about filming television ads and writing print media for the local rag. But with the growth of digital advertising and social media networks, the two roles now go hand in hand, according to Burley.
“And having some IT skills that go beyond Microsoft Word and Powerpoint are vital to working in this industry,” he adds.