Memorandum Report Example
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This memorandum aims to discuss the gender discrimination in the technology industry globally in terms of the growth opportunities and salary scales offered to the women in technology as compared to their male counterparts. In order to support this argument the memorandum will present statistical and researched data as well as include some examples from leading companies in the technology industry that have been biased based on the gender. The memorandum will also include some articles from leading magazines and journals to discuss the issue further.
Traditionally, technology industry is believed to be run by geeks and unconsciously geeks are assumed to be men. The media around us has also strengthen this assumption by portraying men as being more tech savvy and technically sound through various shows and publications. The technology sector has somehow themed as a “guy’s world” and though most companies won’t accept the environment, policies and the norms are not very welcoming for women employees as shared by Mary Flanagan, a Dartmouth College professor and founding director of a software and gaming research laboratory based in New Hampshire called Tiltfactor, about the gaming industry of 1990s.
The notion that technology industry including the engineering and computer software industries are highly biased when hiring and promoting their female employees, this can also be proved by looking at the division of workforce according to gender of various leading players in this industry as the following figures also show. Yahoo, a leading company run by one of the most powerful woman in the industry Marissa Mayer has only 37% female employees that covers all the departments, it’s presumed that the actual number of women in tech roles is even less than that.
Google is also a male haven with only 17% female employees in the tech departments and 30% in the overall company including all departments. The CEO of Yahoo Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg now in Facebook both left Google earlier.
The situation in other leading companies especially in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) industry is almost same, this can also be seen by the stats presented in a report titled “Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation”, published by the Commerce's Economic and Statistics Administration in 2011 that showed that women in STEM only accounted to 24% in comparison to 76% men in the same industry.
The female workforce is almost half the total workforce in US and the number of female students in universities and graduates is also close to make students still there is a wide gap in the STEM industry, this raises a concern about the factors that has created this gap the following section will analyze this through literature review.
In an article on Huffington post, “How to Employ Women in the Tech Industry“, by Dr. Michal Tsur he addresses this issue of the gender gap in the technology industry. He discusses the issues and probable solutions for companies not hiring enough female employees for tech roles and the rising number of female employees quitting their jobs in the STEM industry. The author begins with the common stance that many tech companies make for not hiring enough female employees, as a lack a female graduates in the technical domain.
This gap cannot be overruled completely as according to the U.S. Department of Education, women graduates in the field of engineering and computer science is only 2% and 1% respectively as compared to 12% and 5% of male graduates in the same field. This directly corresponds with the notion of some leading technology companies such as Google and Yahoo who have admitted that they would like to have a diversified workforce to incorporate varied mindsets but the candidates that pass through the selection process happen to be male.
This change in hiring strategy can also attract women to pursue their careers in the tech industry and might rise the number of female tech graduates over the years. The article also advises on providing on-job trainings or grooming opportunities to women who may be competitive enough. According to the article it is important for tech companies to take an informed effort to hire women and not hire the first right candidate as there is a known gap in the number of applicants based on their gender. The author believes that if tech companies make an effort and a success story of their female workforce that will automatically resolve the bottom line issue of lack of women graduates in the tech field.
One of the major issues pertaining to the draught if female employees in tech roles is the rising number of women quitting their tech careers. The report published by “National Center For Women & Information Technology”(NCWIT) entitled “Women in IT-the Facts” discusses the reasons why professional women leave their careers midway and what are the possible threats for the falling number of women in tech roles.
The report presents a study conducted by the Center for Work-Life Policy that stated that about 74% of professional and tech roles looking at successful career routes left their career midway. The rate of women quitting their careers at a relatively costly point in their professional life is the highest in the IT industry as compared to other fields on technology. The rate of quitting among women is illustrated by the following figure:
Figure 3 female quit rate,
The different data and stats presented by the report suggest that mid-career level, with about 10-20 years of experience seems to be the breaking point for women. More women (about 56%) leave their jobs or their career in comparison to only 17% men. This is the stage when the next stop for employees is the management or executive decision level. While 49% of these women utilize their experience and continue in the same industry or start their own business, however 51% of women take a new start. It is important to understand that most company do not make efforts for the retention of quitting female employees.
The mid-level move by women has been seen in leading companies like Google where Marissa Mayer a talented engineer at Google who ran the company’s business successfully was sidelined by Larry Page in 2010, she left the company shortly for Yahoo and is considered a role model for professional women. Larry Page also removed some other women from advisor committee.
It is noticeable that a company like Google has only 3 women in its 10 member board. This trend is not different than other IT companies, as the stats shown in the NCWIT report confirm that women account only 9% of IT Management Positions in the tech industry. The men at the same level as the women in an IT company have 2.7 more chances of being at a high-level executive positions.
Figure 4 Why Women Quit Job, http://underthemicroscope.feministpress.org/women-technologists-count-how-to-keep-them-in-the-industry/
Talent evaluations usually assess executives on typical masculine traits such as action-oriented, drives results with least emphasis on typical feminine characteristics such as collaboration, team spirit and empathy. Most of the companies, especially tech companies are predominantly male oriented and the talent acquisition and retention are also evaluated on typical male stereotypically. Similarly, gender norms such as placid and mild nature is often equaled to lack of competency.
The report very interestingly point to a very important factor of women quitting tech industry as they are not given equal opportunity to grow as their male counterparts for various reasons. Most tech companies have no consideration for different needs that women might have at the mid-level of their career. Pregnancy, family and post pregnancy responsibilities of women might increase their personal liabilities. The personal limitations often act as a barrier when it comes to getting promotions and higher positions in committees. The women in technology industry face extremely pressurizing work environment with long and tedious hours that often makes it difficult for employees to have a health work life balance and to fulfill their family responsibilities.
Figure 5 Stressful work environment,
The report proves the point with various stats that prove that in the tech industry family orientation is not linked to success in anyway. Most men believe that fulfilling family responsibilities could be a potential road blocker in their career. Several mid-level women have accepted that having family responsibilities often resulted in giving them less important tasks or positions. Since women at mid-level of their career have partners working full time too and thus put them in dual pressure to balance family and work. The “motherhood assumptions” acts as a barrier in the career growth for women.
This report discusses the factors that force women to quit or change their career paths in the technology industry. The various stats show that the industry is typically male dominant not only in terms of workforce but also in terms of the performance metrics, talent evaluation and leadership qualities. These assumptions that consider gender norms as lack of competency urge female employees especially on the mid-level of their careers (10- 20 years’ experience) to quit the job or even industry.
In addition to unwelcoming and stressful work environment and stereotypical assumptions, one of the important factors is prevalent in tech industry is the salary gap between male and female employees. A survey report by Glassdoor showed that male engineers earn about $73000 while female engineers at the same level earned $65000 similarly male programmers made $71000 at the start of their career while female programmers only earn about $60000 per year.
This projection can be proven by the actual numbers reported by a survey of salary scales in the leading IT and technology companies. At Microsoft, a male software engineer with 3-4 years of experience earns $101,006 while a woman at the same level earns $94. Similarly, at HP woman engineers with almostn10 years of experience earn on average $91,730 while a male engineer with less experience earns about $96,423 annually. Several other leading companies including Oracle and Qualcomm showed the same discrepancies.
While several article talks about the gender stereotyping hypothesis, a publication "How Stereotypes Impair Women's Careers in Science," written by Ernesto Reuben, published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”, shows the biasness among talent acquisition and hiring managers and the facts published in the report also demonstrate the cost companies can bare due to the discrimination. The report states that hiring manager who are gender biased acts as important factor why less women join tech industry and for the high rate of quits. The talent managers are more likely to hire a male employee whenever a technical role is required to be fulfilled. Most of the time the hiring managers make up their mind early in an interview while evaluating a female candidate as women tend to not flaunt their achievements, the hiring managers consider them less competent. Also as discussed earlier the characteristics these managers are looking for are predominantly male and a very small percentage of women might exhibit that personality regardless of the level of competency.
The report includes a study conducted by Dr. Reuben to test the biasness among talent manager. In the research 150 potential candidates were given a test to perform some calculations over a fixed amount of time. The results were collected and while some candidates revealed their results others were kept hidden. The other set of research participants were the talent managers as the subject. These managers were also given a computer based behavioral testing to show their scale of biasness about performance in the test based on gender.
The experiment results showed that when the talent managers choose male candidates when gender was the only thing they knew about a candidate without actually looking at the scores. That resulted in wrong choices for hiring due to unconscious stereotyping. This result demonstrates the stance that choosing a wrong candidate only because of gender biasness can harm the company as a wrong person might sit and a wrong seat and make bad decisions for the company.
In this modern era it is hard to believe that women are still considered naïve, fragile and less competent as compared to men. This holds true in the technology industry where most of the leading companies show gender biasness on several grounds. While most of the companies state that they provide equal opportunities to women, however in reality the opportunity only exists if the woman in tech role are ready to be a man.
The norms, policies and work environment all are designed to suit a man but can impose stressful commitments from women. Even if hired, women are usually less paid as compared to their male counterparts. Additionally, women are reviewed critically on male characteristics and the gender norms are considered as a lack of competency for them making it hard to elevate to higher levels in a position. Most women leave their career at mid-level with 10-20experience either to start their own business or join a less biased organization, however that is a costly move for the company and the employee both.
The lack of specific solutions for retaining women in tech role in most tech companies makes it even harder for women to sustain their roles and break the stereotypes the hiring managers and talent acquisition managers have. In order to have a diversified workforce it is important for companies to encourage women to apply, work and remain in the company providing them opportunities to learn and grow. Additionally women need cushions for work life balance more than a men and since HR are usually male dominant the natural needs of women are overlooked and often ignored. Family responsibilities, child bearing and motherhood are natural needs of women and the work environments should provide flexibility for the female workforce to align their personal and professional responsibilities in a healthy manner.
Carson, Erin. "Glassdoor report: The gender pay gap in tech is still a problem." 2014. web.
Catherine Ashcraft, Ph.D. and Sarah Blithe. "Women In IT: The Facts." 2009.
Commerce.gov. Women in STEM: An Opportunity and An Imperative. August 2011. web. Feb 2015.
Fuller, Cameron. Women In Tech Industry Few And Far Between, And Some Say Male Prejudices Are To Blame. 20 June 2014. web. 10 Feb 2015.
McGuinness, Ross. White guys (Don’t do it): Google searches for a more diverse workforce. 2 June 2014. web. 10 Feb 2015.
MILLER, CLAIRE CAIN. "In Google’s Inner Circle, a Falling Number of Women." The Newyork Times August 2012. web.
New research proves gender bias extraordinarily prevalent in science, technology, engineering and math fields. 23 June 2014. web. 2015.
Tsur, Dr Micheal. How to Employ Women in the Tech Industry. December 2012. web. Feb 2015.
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