Women Needed: The IT Industry Crisis
Tuesday, March 3, 2020
The theme for International Women’s Day this year is #EachforEqual because an equal world is an enabled world.
Gender balance is not a women’s issue, it’s an economic issue. In the past year alone, 2.4 million jobs in technology have gone unfilled due to high demand in the industry. As society shifts towards being more and more dependent on technology, we need women to help fill those roles. Women like Coty Pearson, senior network engineer and cybersecurity guru at PCA Technology Solutions. Coty has been in the industry for over a decade and is the ultimate deliverer of #WorldClassIT
When asked what it is like to be a woman in engineering, she feels that gender has given her a different perspective and experience to male counterparts. Pearson stated, “I can only imagine that it’s the same as being a man in engineering. I have been working in the Information Technology field for almost 20 years now. When I first started there were certainly more men in our field, but it wasn’t anything that I let deter me. I can certainly see where the men have advantages due to their strength typically being more than mine at least. But the stigma that I have always tried to surpass is that we are all human beings that have desires to contribute to society and be productive stewards of our world. There is still a severe under representation of not just women but minorities within the STEM field.” Coty couldn’t be more spot on. In terms of under representation. Women account for 25% of the IT workforce, and of those women, less than 10% are minorities. Women of color being the least represented, making up a mere 3% of women in the industry, according to NCWIT. Statistics show that more diverse workplaces produce a higher rate of innovation, inspiration, and productivity. If more women and minorities take their seat at the table in the IT industry, the possibilities are endless.
So, we asked Pearson, “Women make up nearly 50% of the workforce, why are they not currently choosing STEM career paths?” She quickly answered, “it’s not for a lack of interest. It’s a lack of confidence”. In our culture, young boys are given building blocks and rocket kits while girls are given baby dolls. Girls also tend to develop communication skills earlier than boys and see it as a strength compared to math and sciences in school, later translating into jobs in communication and humanities. However, women could benefit greatly from the IT industry. With many companies shifting to remote work environments, women no longer must choose career or family, they can have both. The pay is sustainable too. Coty stated “Stem jobs pay an average of nearly $39 an hour and there are so many ways to gain practical knowledge and skills by actually DOING it. I have personally gone to countless workshops to gain technical experience in what interests me and there are thousands of resources available, even online and local clubs to help create a community of people with shared STEM interest.”
The solution to the current gender gap remains an unsolved mystery. Andrea Loubier, CEO of Mailbird, suggests to Forbes that remote workplaces may be the answer to attracting women to the industry, who may otherwise sacrifice their careers for family life. Other’s have suggested that it is as simple as enabling future generations by promoting STEM to young girls could do the trick. While only time will tell, but one thing is for certain, with women like Coty Pearson pioneering the way, future generations of girls will certainly be welcomed and embraced into the industry.
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