Shocker: Women outnumber men in this year's tech hires

Women's tech employment has hovered at around 30 percent, but that number jumped to 60 percent this year

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Women still have a steep hill to climb in tech, though not for wages

Although this year's shift toward hiring women is a welcome change, there's still a very long way to go. As of September, there were slightly fewer than 1.7 million people working in the tech sector as identified by the BLS; of those, just 31 percent were women. That number has hardly changed for 10 years.

That makes sense statistically: The 39,000 women who entered the industry this year are a very small percentage of the total tech workforce, so moving the needle will take a good deal of time.

The Anita Borg Institute looked at a somewhat different slice of data on the tech workforce, and it found the highest percent of women were in database administration at 36.6 percent, whereas just 8.1 percent of network architects in 2012 were women. Other categories include software engineers/developers (19.7 percent), support specialists (27.1 percent), and systems analysts (30.9 percent).

When it comes to wages, there's still a disparity between the sexes. Female computer systems analysts earned 81 percent of the wages paid to men for comparable work, while earnings of female computer and information systems managers were pretty close to that of men, at 96.7 percent. Female programmers were paid 93 percent of what men earned. But that's better than the national average across all industries of 77 percent, a proportion that hasn't budged in a decade.

None of this data speaks to the issue of leadership in technology: Ask even well-informed people to name a female CEO in the technology industry, few can think of any other than the leaders of Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Yahoo. There are more, of course, but not many. Go to any CIO conference, and unless it's focused on health care, you'll usually be able to count the number of women CIOs on one hand. When you get to the top, it's very much a man's world in tech.

Nor does it speak directly to the frustration felt by so many women in tech. "There are things you have to shrug off when you are a female professional. I once had a boss tell me that I was macho, which he revised to 'confident.' Why this thoughtful and accomplished person thought that confidence was a male trait is beyond me," says Dice's Bewley.

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This article, "Shocker: Women outnumber men in this year's tech hires," was originally published by Read more of Bill Snyder's Tech's Bottom Line blog and follow the latest technology business developments at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.


Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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