Women and the Tech Shortage

Women can fill the needed ranks of the growing technology industry. The numbers of unfilled IT jobs are increasing, encouraging larger numbers of trained women in the field, to help fill the technology gap that is continuing to grow.

 

Everywhere you look you can see articles about the shortage of professionals in technological fields. Code.org, a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science states, “There are currently 503,338 open computing jobs nationwide” and that “Last year, only 42,969 computer science students graduated into the work force.”

 

The United States and both developed and developing countries, have increasing needs for professionals who are technology capable and able to develop applications, analyze data, troubleshoot network problems, secure data, and a slew of other tasks and endeavors that require a tech savvy employee.  It is not a problem exclusive to the United States. The World Economic Forum has developed a graph showing countries facing the greatest skill shortages.  The US is number 9 in skill shortages at 40%.  IT training, whether it be certifications, associate degrees, bachelor degrees or simple computer competency, is not keeping up with demand.

 

 

 

At the same time, articles about the diminishing percentage of women in tech continue to pepper the newsstands year after year.  Understanding why this is happening, is worthy of study.  As is understanding the studies that show bottom line benefits of diversity for development teams. However obvious, if often unstated the connection is, if you have a shortage of technology workers then engaging the interest of over 50% of the future work force (women), is key too meeting future industry needs.

 

A related concern, failing to retain a qualified worker when you have diminished prospects of filling an empty position effects the efficiency of a business, its ability to meet deadlines and its bottom line.

 

Given the circumstances, even if women had nothing to offer beyond a solid day’s work, no extra benefits attached to being a woman – It still makes economic sense to educate as many women as possible in technology.  The work force is aching for IT professionals.

 

Anything that discourages over 50% of the population and 56% of our entering college population from pursuing a career in technology, is not a good thing. You can see details for college demographics here, from the National Center for Education Statistics. Women are becoming the dominant population on most campuses.  What’s surprising is that women’s organizations feel it necessary to claim added benefits from hiring women, to get the tech world to sit up and take notice.

 

Women are part of the modern day work force.  It is unlikely that will change any time soon. They support families, seek out fulfilling careers and dream about how they can change the future.  We should make sure that some of those dreams include advancing technology.

 

Not every girl, or boy, for that matter, is interested in a career in technology.  We need to make sure the ones who have an interest, have a pathway to fulfill those dreams.  The industry needs all of them-male, female, white, black, Hispanic, etc.  It’s smart, it’s needed, it ensures a solid base for future industry needs.  No more talking about extras that women bring to the table-though the industry really should pay attention to that. Let’s talk about bringing all the solid, capable, women into the technology field and take some real steps toward meeting future demand.

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