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Women in tech still feel there’s a ‘glass ceiling’ in the sector

The number of women in the tech sector who think there is a “glass ceiling” has risen over the past year, according to research

Many women in the technology industry still feel there is a “glass ceiling”, with the number of women feeling held back increasing over the past year, according to research.

A study by IT services firm Ivanti found 31% of women think the tech industry has a glass ceiling holding them back, an increase from 24% in 2018.

Around 46% also said the industry needs to work to close the sector’s gender pay gap to encourage more female talent into the industry.

Sarah Lewis, director of field marketing at Ivanti, said: “Although some progress has been made, women in tech are still battling pay inequality and an organisational culture that continues to favour men in leadership positions.

“While women in tech movements are challenging the status quo, more needs to be done not only to entice talented women to work in tech, but to make sure their aspirations are valued and supported.”

In the UK, all firms over a certain size are required to publish figures including the gender pay gap mean and median average in their organisation within 12 months.

In 2016, women in the technology sector made around 9% less on average than their male counterparts.

Equality in pay and benefits was cited by 64% of women in tech as something which would attract them to a new role, and around half said they could be tempted into a new role by a promise of flexible working practices.

A third of women in the sector also said it would be helpful to gain support from their employers to work part time in management positions.

While more women are expected to enter the technology sector in 2020, the number of women in core technical roles has remained stagnant at around 16% over the past decade.

More than 60% of women in tech said long-standing stereotypes about the tech sector still puts men in a favourable position when it comes to leadership roles, while they feel women in the same positions are “judged by different criteria”, leading to women progressing slower than men.

While less than the previous year, the percentage of women who feel they aren’t taken seriously in the workplace is still more than half (53%).

There are a number of reasons women cite for avoiding the technology industry altogether, such as a lack of visible and accessible role models, or stereotypes about technology careers and who are better suited to them.

Teachers and parents have both admitted to being guilty of steering girls away from science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) from a young age, while girls who choose not to study STEM often regret it later, and young women have claimed they want more encouragement from women already in the sector.

Three-quarters of women asked by Ivanti said collaboration between technology employers and education providers could encourage more women into technology roles, with 44% saying companies are currently failing to attract and retain female talent.

Many also said career coaching or mentoring for women would be helpful, and many said employers need to focus more on advancing female career paths.

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