Women face an uncertain future in the high tech industry as findings from a national Women in Technology Leadership survey released today show a remarkable 60% of women currently working in the field would choose another profession if "starting out on a career" today. The survey, released by Deloitte & Touche LLP/Deloitte Consulting and conducted by Roper Starch Worldwide, reveals why women are less likely than men to choose a high tech profession: the glass ceiling, usually associated with more traditional companies, has reappeared in the new economy.
"The findings from the Women in Technology survey clearly demonstrate that much more progress needs to be made before women and men are perceived as equals in the workplace," said James E. Copeland, Jr., chief executive officer of Deloitte & Touche and its global parent, Deloitte Touch Tohmatsu. "The research findings provide a compelling reason for business leaders to identify and promote new opportunities for women to become technology leaders."
Additional findings of the Deloitte & Touche Women in Technology survey:
Is there a glass ceiling in the high tech industry?
Nearly two-thirds of women surveyed believe a glass ceiling is a reality for women in the high technology industry (62%), whereas 62% of men felt that this barrier is a non-issue for women in the high tech industry.
What perceived barriers to advancement exist for women and why?
Those who perceive a glass ceiling exists cited the following reasons: women perceived as less knowledgeable and/or qualified than their male counterparts, gender bias, sex discrimination, stereotypes, and a lack of women technology leaders (84% of women and 57% of men said there were too few women high tech leaders).
Who dominates the industry?
65% of respondents associate the high tech industry with men compared with a mere 4% who associate it with women.
What does it take to succeed in the high tech arena?
Women are more likely to link female success to skill, accessibility to female mentors, and education, while men are more likely to attribute women's success to the prosperous economy of the past 10 years.
What does the future hold for the industry for women?
An overwhelming percentage of male and female respondents (78%) associate a strong economy and long-term future growth with the industry. 61% of women who work in high tech say they generally face a glass ceiling (vs. 62% of women in other professions). And while 33% of women, when asked if they were "starting out on a career" today, would choose high tech as their preferred career path, fully 47% of men say the same.
"While there are women achieving stunning success in the high tech industry, they appear to be the exception rather than the rule," said Sue Molina, tax partner and national director of the Deloitte & Touche Initiative for the Retention and Advancement of Women. "There is clearly a disconnect between men and women's perceptions of what factors contribute to success in the workplace. This is an opportune time for the industry to step up its commitment to women. Deloitte & Touche encountered similar statistics with our female employee retention rates and we responded with our Vision 2005 initiative to advance more women into leadership positions. We found ways to create work environments that promote equality and advancement for everyone, regardless of gender."
The survey was conducted as part of Deloitte & Touche's "Vision 2005," an initiative that will increase the total number of female partners/directors within the firm to 1,000 by 2005, up from the present figure of 486. The interviews were conducted in March 2001 with America Online members and the population surveyed included 1,000 women and 500 men. All the survey respondents were employed full-time and had Internet access at work. The sampling error for the survey is plus or minus three percentage points.
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