Women in the ICT industry receive lower salaries than their male counterparts and, as revealed by the 2012 ACS employment survey of 2,250 ICT professionals from across a variety of industries in Australia, 46.8 per cent of female respondents said they experienced some form of discrimination when applying for a job and that 37.2 per cent of these respondents reported discrimination being based on their gender.
According to ACS President, Nick Tate, the survey found that of all respondents aged 55 or older, 35 per cent reported being subjected to age-based discrimination during the hiring process.
“The nation’s $100 billion digital economy is creating huge opportunities, and by excluding whole sections of the workforce because of ignorance or prejudice, the ICT sector and society at large, risk missing out.
While women employed in ICT receive lower salaries, the survey also reveals that, on average across the industry, men earn 9.8 per cent more than women – this, despite the fact that, while women enter the industry with comparative or slightly higher salaries, after three to five years the average salary for men is five per cent higher than that of women.
According to Dr Tate, there is not a single industry in Australia that does not suffer from some form of gender pay inequality but, he says, “few are in as much need as ICT to tackle it head on.”
“In Australia the number of females entering university has already surpassed that of males. In 2011 fifty seven per cent of students starting university are female and this trend is expected to continue.
Dr Tate said the ACS was actively working to overcome the challenges of inequality.
“For example, the ACS Women’s board are actively engaged in promoting interests of women working in the sector as well as encouraging young women and girls to consider ICT as a viable, interesting and exciting career path. By providing mentorship, events and research focused on engaging more diverse pathways within the sector, we hope to help create an environment in which all ICT professionals, regardless of their gender, age and race, can succeed.”
The full findings from the ACS employment survey will be officially released at the Young ICT Professionals Conference to be held in Sydney on October 8-9.