Women Tech Professionals Overcoming the Challenges of Breaking into the Industry

The tech industry is one of the fastest-growing and most promising sectors in today’s job market. Thanks to advancements in AI, individuals proficient in the latest technologies may worry less about the prospect of their jobs disappearing in the future. But despite the high demand for tech professionals, women are still underrepresented in this field.

As per findings from The World Bank, the global technology workforce comprises less than one-third of women. Disappointing right? Specifically, they account for just 28% of positions in computer and mathematical occupations and a mere 15.9% in engineering and architecture roles. Although women have made significant strides in their career paths, many still face challenges as they step into the tech career.

women in technology

While these statistics alone may seem discouraging, delving into the individuals represented by these numbers provides a more comprehensive understanding of the experiences of women in the tech industry. We will mention a few pieces of advice from some powerful women in tech for your inspiration. Go ahead!

In this article, we will outline some of these potential difficulties and offer helpful guidance to help women overcome them. 

#1: Gender bias in the tech industry

Entering a male-dominated sector sometimes raises hesitation in potential female candidates. Moreover, women face several gender biases in the workplace. These may range from casual sexism to more overt discrimination. Women may be judged based on their gender rather than their experience or qualifications. For example, they may not be taken seriously in meetings, or their ideas may be disregarded.

One way to overcome this challenge is to find a community of like-minded women in tech. These can be found in professional organizations, social media networks, and other online groups. By joining these communities, women can share their experiences, learn from others, and build a support system. One such example of a platform is DigitalRecruiter™ which enables women to network and seek the guidance of other women in tech, as well as mentors who can help them overcome any challenges.

Here’s what Megha Yethadka, Senior Director, Program Management, Tech at Uber says “While increasing women in STEM is a long-term goal, immediate actions such as corporate mentoring, campus engagement, and lateral hiring are effective. Women professionals should defy norms, set their standards, and lead by example—leveraging flexible work policies, seeking assistance, prioritizing work-life balance, advocating policy changes, and fostering communities. Engaging emerging women in tech is our responsibility for a more inclusive future. I also suggest that women should just rely on others’ past experiences and societal beliefs. It’s better to explore on their own.”

#2: Lack of female role models in tech

According to a survey conducted in 2021, 52% of female respondents identified a shortage of advancement opportunities as the primary obstacle for women in the tech industry. Men tend to enjoy greater access to mentorship programs, facilitating their career progression. 

Women are often discouraged from pursuing careers in technology because they don’t see many female role models. Without role models or mentors, it can be challenging for women to imagine themselves in these careers, making it difficult to plan a long-term career path. This lack of representation can also hinder the confidence and self-esteem of aspiring tech professionals.

To overcome this issue, women can search for female trailblazers in tech whom they can look up to as role models. Women can also seek out opportunities to connect with these role models, such as attending conferences, reaching out on LinkedIn or Twitter, or participating in local networking groups. Build your tech squad at DigitalRecruiter™ and connect with thousands of like-minded women like yourself.

Neha Aggarwal, Associate Vice President, Head – of Vertical Strategy, Manufacturing Vertical, Birlasoft says – “We’ve noticed a noticeable shift in the industry’s inclusion initiatives, leading to more women now taking on leadership roles. The primary reasons cited for women leaving their careers early include unconscious bias, unequal opportunities, and a lack of leadership coaching. It’s crucial to recognize that it’s not a matter of women being less qualified or less eager. Rather, compared to their male counterparts, they often encounter challenges that hinder their progress, leading to burnout at the mid-levels of organizations. To address this issue and encourage more women to sustain careers in IT, Manufacturing, and tech-related fields, organizations need to make a conscious commitment, adopt a streamlined approach, and, most importantly, provide the right mentors to support women.”

#3: Unequal pay

Gender wage disparity persists as a significant challenge in the tech industry. A study conducted in 2021 revealed that 59% of the time, men were offered higher salaries than their female counterparts when interviewed for identical roles within the same company. This stark inequality underscores the ongoing issue of unequal pay.

To overcome these stereotypes, women need to take ownership of their skills and highlight their strengths. Women should also resist the temptation to conform to the stereotype and instead pursue their passions, skills, and interests. This will help them to develop a valuable set of skills that they can take pride in and market to potential employers.

“Now, the tech industry is fast-paced and there is a realization of how women are bringing in deep empathy and diverse thought to the work culture, where there’s a form of realism in how we view and work with people. My advice to women is always to speak up and not allow prejudice to interfere with your capacity to express yourself. Women should have a free flow of dialogues, and encourage other women who are on a similar growth path” says Nidhi Gopal, Vice President – Product Development, SBSEG, Intuit

#4: Balancing work and personal life

Another challenge that women in tech may face is balancing their work and personal lives. In a demanding industry like tech, it can be difficult to find a balance between the two. Women may feel pressure to work long hours or to constantly be “on” to prove themselves.

To overcome this challenge, women need to be realistic about their workload and boundaries. They may need to set limits on their work hours or communicate their needs to their manager to ensure a healthy work-life balance. Women should also prioritize their personal lives, whether it’s making time for hobbies, socializing or simply taking time to relax.

“Don’t try to be a man; it’s a waste of a good woman,” says Belinda Jurisic, Vice President of Channel, Cloud, and Service Provider Strategy & Management, Veeam. She further adds, “We all can contribute. While perfection may elude us each time, every instance of speaking up is a valuable learning experience. As positive changes unfold due to our words, it’s crucial to acknowledge and take ownership of the transformations we’ve advocated for. Our selection is purposeful, meant to bring diverse perspectives and unique strengths to the forefront.”

 

#5: Lack of tech resources to learn from

As digital competence becomes integral to daily life, a high number of individuals lack essential technical skills, placing them at a disadvantage, warns the Digital Divide Council. With comparatively less access to digital platforms or resources and people to learn from, women often find themselves in a stagnant growth to become technically sound and compete with confidence in the corporate world.

To address this issue, comprehensive training for women is crucial in maximizing the benefits of the internet and modern technologies. The widening skill gap underscores the importance of the United Nations’ new global initiative aimed at enhancing digital learning and skills for 3.5 billion children and youth in marginalized communities by 2030. 

Here’s what Prashanti Bodugum, Vice President – Technology and Chennai Center Head, Walmart Global Tech India says “The pandemic has posed challenges for women in balancing work and family while working remotely. To support women’s careers, we must break stereotypes, provide STEM education in rural areas, and establish incubation centers. Organizations should hire women for entry-level positions, upskill them in digital and tech, and encourage women tech leaders to mentor others, fostering confidence and realizing their full potential.”

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