In my more than three decades working in the software industry, I’ve had the privilege of watching an industry transform. From the dot-com boom to the rise of cloud computing, major evolutions in technology have had a meaningful impact on our lives, both at work and at home.
What’s equally important, though less visible day to day, is how the tech industry is changing behind the scenes, and that includes in the area of diversity and inclusion. As a woman in tech, I can say we’ve made great strides the last few decades as it relates to D&I, but we still have a long way to go.
In what was formerly a male-dominated industry, women now make up 53% of initial hires. Despite this progress, according to a recent study from the National Center for Women & Information Technology, women in tech are abandoning their careers at a steep rate. Today, more than half of women (56%) leave tech at the “midlevel” point – twice the exit rate for men. And many of them aren’t leaving for other interests or to build a family. In fact, the vast majority of women who leave tech careers (80%) report staying in the workforce, and half continue to use their technical skills elsewhere, suggesting culture and opportunity are driving departure.
In fact, women ages 25 to 34, a group reporting “greater dissatisfaction” with tech career prospects, specifically point to unsupportive work environments and a lack of inspiring role models as barriers to their workplace satisfaction. This is a huge obstacle not only for individual companies, but also for the larger tech industry and its desire for holistic innovation that appeals to all kinds of people.
While diversity in tech goes far beyond gender, these stats reveal areas for improvement as we look