Technical Talent: Where Are the Women?

Nancy RidgeBy Nancy Ridge

One factor contributing to a shortage of IT talent is that there continues to be a shortage of women choosing IT and technical careers. There are a number of studies on this topic, and much has been written about it. Statistics continue to bear it out: Google’s engineering workforce is only 17 percent female, Pinterest’s only 21 percent, Facebook stands at 15 percent.

Although I haven’t seen any hard numbers from telecommunications companies or indirect channels, I would venture to say the numbers would be similar or even lower.{ad}

Difficulty in career advancement continues to be cited as a major factor; however the reasons we’re failing to attract young women are varied. According to a Harvard study first conducted in 2008 and updated in 2014, they include a “hostile” male culture, a sense of isolation and lack of a clear career path.

Women in the Channel and other organizations are pushing back with outreach to young women in schools, mentoring programs and bringing the conversation of gender diversity as a path to financial success to the table. (The Women in Channel event at Channel Partners’ Conference & Expo will include telecom and channel leaders discussing why gender diversity matters and what they plan to do in 2016 to address it.)

We need the channel to band together here. Let’s create an environment that fosters and engages women, Not only will we help fill our own need for technical talent, we will be taking the lead in attacking a major major problem plaguing the IT industry as a whole.

Nancy Ridge is executive vice president, Telecom Brokers, and past president and co-founder of Women in the Channel.
Twitter: @nancy_ridge

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