Less than a quarter of IT jobs in developed countries will be held by women by the end of 2016, according to a new report from Deloitte Global.
The report, encompassing predictions across the broader technology, media, and telecommunications landscape for 2016, found that while the total number of IT jobs has increased by over 20 percent in the last five years in markets including the US and UK, the ratio of women working IT jobs has failed to follow suit.
The number of women working one of the five million IT jobs in the US fell from 25 percent to 24 percent across 2010 to 2014, while the number of women working in IT in the UK grew from 17 percent to just 18 percent from 2010 to 2015.
Education was put forward as one of the main reasons for these dismal numbers. Only 18 percent of computer science graduates in the US in 2013 were women, while the University of Waterloo, the best known computer science university in Canada, reported that women made up just 13 percent of its 2010 enrollment in computer science. This education gap precedes tertiary education.
Of course, the problems don’t stop with education, with retention another key – and familiar – issue: a 2014 study found that women in IT roles are more 45 percent more likely than men to leave in their first year, and it isn’t hard to see why.
The Deloitte report comes just a few weeks after the release of Elephant in the Valley, a project which seeks to educate people about the difficulties facing women who work in tech. The survey of over 200 women who have worked in tech for at least 10 years found shone a light on various instances of sexism across areas including harassment, inclusion, family and motherhood, and unconscious bias.
Almost 60 percent reported feeling they had not had the same opportunities as their male counterparts, while 90 percent said they had witnessed sexist behaviour at company offsites or industry conferences. 60 percent of respondents reported unwanted sexual advances, while 87 percent said they had received demeaning comments from male colleagues.
However, there is a sliver of good news, with the Deloitte Global report stating that the IT job categories with the lowest female representation are slowly shrinking, with more balanced categories growing. What’s more, the number of senior women in tech, particularly high-profile female C-suite executives, has never been higher, helping provide leadership, role models, and mentors for younger women and girls considering a career in IT.
But diversity in terms of ethnicity is still a problem here, with many of the women in these senior roles white.
The other big 2016 predictions
- Millennials may be known as the smartphone generation, but Deloitte Global is predicting that ownership, intent to purchase, and use of PCs will be higher among those 18 to 24 years old than any other age group in 2016
- The number of people using mobile payments will increase by 150 percent to reach 50 million regular users this year
- Mobile will become the leading games platform by software revenue, with revenue growing 20 percent to US$35 billion globally, while the global eSports audience is expected to reach 150 million worldwide. Virtual reality is also expected to become a billion dollar market in 2016.