It’s well known that in technical roles in tech-centric industries, women are struggling to gain parity. Now research suggests that women in business roles in this sector also face significant barriers—a troubling finding, considering that the tech industry is expected to grow at almost twice the rate of other industries between now and 2018.
In a new report examining how high-potential MBA graduates fare in tech-heavy industries, Catalyst researchers found that women in business roles at these companies began at lower salaries than their male counterparts; were much more likely to join the company in an entry-level position (55 percent women, 39 percent men); were more likely than men to leave for a position in another industry (53 percent women compared with 31 percent men); and were significantly less likely to have a female supervisor—and role model—than women in other industries (20 percent for women in tech compared with 31 percent for women elsewhere).
These disparities aren’t inevitable, the researchers say. Proven ways to address them include:
• Promoting sponsorship of women by senior-level men, to get more women into the leadership pipeline;
• Examining pay and promotion policies to ensure that women and men are evaluated according to the same well-defined and transparent criteria; and
• Assessing the company’s culture to make sure that its opportunities for development and advancement are equitable.