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Wednesday, 15 June 2016 23:17

The ‘glass ceiling’ still firmly in place at the top for women in IT Featured

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Australia’s IT industry is one of the worst business sectors when it comes to employing women, particularly at executive management level, with just 14% of women in the top positions.

Nationally in the IT industry, men generally outnumber women 2:1, which is consistent in all states, and of the total IT participation, 69% are men and just 31% women – with the number of women in middle management roles higher than those in executive positions.

The diversity report on women in technology has just been released by recruitment consulting firm Davidson Technology which conducted the survey in conjunction with professional network LinkedIn to get an informed insight into the IT participation rates in Australia and the representation of women in key job types.

Davidson Technology chief executive Brendan Kavenagh says in a time of keen focus on the number of females represented in all business sectors, the IT sector is one of the “poorest performers when it comes to the gender diversity challenges it faces”.

Despite the poor overall result, there’s some evidence of a better situation for women, with the survey revealing that the top five IT roles that have a greater representation of women include program manager/director, release/change manager, designer, business analyst and test managers.

But, Davidson found that core coding type roles are still less inclined to attract a large representation of women.

Kavenagh says Davidson identified a need for the report when discussing gender targets with clients.

“To determine realistic targets, businesses need to be informed, but there was no single source of information in the public domain that captures data on how many people work in the IT sector, where exactly in Australia they are and their gender – until now.

“The best information we have at our disposal is from the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn.”

According to Kavenagh, the survey findings suggest that it is unrealistic for businesses to aim for 50:50 gender balance across all job types, when the pool of female talent averages about 30%.

“The true value in this report is the analysis of female population size within role types. This data enables us to assist organisations to set best practice targets for female participation.

“Now that we have this information the next step is to work with organisations to determine how best to attract female IT workers.”

Kavenagh says strategies to attract women need to be well thought out and planned, and retention strategies are equally as important.

“This report will help us have better conversations with organisations about how to attract candidates and to assist them to set realistic gender targets based on the data available.

“On the flipside, it also provides us with valuable information on candidates so we can work more proactively in this area and provide them with unique opportunities that helps them continue to develop and further their career plans.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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