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Women looking for new roles want equal progression opportunities

According to Skillsoft, many women in tech are happy at their current employer, but those seeking new roles are mainly doing so to gain equal opportunities

Almost 40% of women in tech careers in EMEA are considering switching roles over the next year, according to Skillsoft.

And more than a third of those who are considering switching roles are doing so because they are seeking more equitable career opportunities.

“Despite the efforts of organisations to make diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace a greater priority, our research shows that the gender gap remains quite wide, and significant work is needed to achieve true parity at all levels,” said Orla Daly, chief information officer at Skillsoft.

“Women in technology are calling for more opportunities to advance their careers via leadership development, technical training, coaching and mentorship. Meanwhile, organisations are facing a critical need for technology and leadership competencies. This presents a mutual growth opportunity that helps organisations thrive and empowers women to increase their impact by filling these critical gaps,” she added.

Skillsoft asked 1,321 women worldwide, 274 of whom were in EMEA, what challenges they faced when pursuing a technology career. In response, 33% said there was a lack of equitable opportunities for progression.

While 43% of women in tech roles in EMEA aren’t looking to switch employers, 38% would be interested in a new role, in many cases because they don’t feel equal to their male counterparts when it comes to promotion and salary opportunities.

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Almost 30% said they were considering a new role because of a lack of professional development, and 10% because of a lack of diversity and inclusion (D&I) – although a higher proportion (19%) said they weren’t impressed with their employers’ D&I initiatives.

When it came to tech-related careers, just over half of women said poor leadership and management had been a challenge for them when trying to get into tech, and 40% cited a lack of training and development opportunities as a difficulty.

But attracting women to the technology sector is only half the battle. Retaining diverse talent is just as important for firms aiming to increase diversity in their tech teams and the large number of women who want to stay with their current employer – more than half are happy with their benefits package and around 80% are happy with their level of job security.

Flexible working hours was one of the most important benefits for women in tech, with 66% seeing it as an extremely important part of their role, as was remote and hybrid working. In addition, 56% of respondents said professional development and career training opportunities were extremely important to them.

But around 20% of the women answering the survey, while working in technology companies, have roles in HR or learning development, with only 4% claiming to be in software development.

Women are still outnumbered by men in the technology sector, with BCS reporting in 2019 that the 249,000 women working in UK technology accounted for 17% of IT specialists in the region.

Skillsoft found that for 35% of the women who answered the survey, men outnumbered women within their organisation by more than 4:1. Only 14% said there were more women than men in their organisation, with 11% saying the gender split was half and half.

Ongoing professional development and training was the most suggested way women in tech believe organisations could increase the gender balance in the sector, closely followed by offering benefits that cater specifically to people with families.

Giving women in tech more coaching and mentoring opportunities was also cited as an important step to encourage more women into the technology sector.

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