Women Who Code CEO: Tips for attracting women to the technology workforce

The nonprofit recommends ways to get women into technology careers in the first place, including better pay, mentoring and flexible schedules that will benefit not just individual employees but the broader industry.

A new survey of more than 1,500 women revealed that they frequently encounter obstacles that impact salary and career advancement, according to Women Who Code.

Seventy five percent of jobs in the U.S. will require technology skills within the next decade, according to Women Who Code CEO Alaina Percival.

“It’s imperative that the industry as a whole become a more welcoming and inclusive place for women who have been drastically underrepresented to date,” Percival said in a statement. “Providing women every available opportunity and resource to succeed is crucial – both for their well being and for the stability of the economy.”

Highlighting challenges women face once they enter technology careers, the study also looked at what needs to be done to attract women to technology fields in the first place.

Nearly 80 percent of women indicated flexible work hours as critical, and one in four respondents said flexible work hours was the most important factor when considering a career in tech. Half of all respondents, in fact, agreed that balancing their career and personal life is challenging.

Women Who Code, a global nonprofit dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers, conducted the research with developer training company Pluralsight.

When asked to rank the biggest challenges in their careers, respondents listed lack of opportunities for advancement first, followed closely by lack of female role models and lack of mentorship at work. More than 60 percent of female leaders agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that having more women on their teams would be beneficial.

Respondents also cited a lack of confidence and male-dominated work environments as top issues holding back their careers. And while 20 percent of respondents in their 20s and 30s aspire to a vice president or C-level position, more than 50 percent felt uncomfortable asking for a raise and nearly 50 percent felt uncomfortable asking for a promotion.

What’s more, women in leadership roles reported being held back by male-dominated work environments at more than twice the rate of women in mid-level positions or below (19 percent vs. 8 percent), while nearly half of respondents ages 21-49 feel that male colleagues are more likely to get promoted than female colleagues.

When it comes to salaries, the latest HIMSS Compensation Survey, released at the 2016 HIMSS Annual Conference and Exhibition, found big gaps between men and women holding positions with the same title in the healthcare IT field. Men, on average, earned $126,262, compared to $100,762 for women.

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com

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