The tech workforce in British Columbia faces significant growth in the coming years, with the 2016 Tech Talent BC Report predicting over 30,000 open positions by 2021. Despite this sector growth, a new report points to overall underrepresentation of women in tech, and a negligible amount of Indigenous people in corporate leadership roles across the province.
The Face of Leadership tech report, the first to be conducted by Minerva BC, drew from 25 companies across six different sectors of the technology industry.
The report found that just 26 percent of board members in the companies surveyed were women. There were zero people who identified as Indigenous found on boards or in executive roles.
The report found that just 26 percent of board members in the companies surveyed were women. Women also accounted for just 23 percent of available executive positions among those companies surveyed.
Minerva BC also conducts a more broad Face of Leadership BC scorecard, which highlights the representation of women across BC’s top 50 revenue-generating companies. In it, women held only 22 percent of available board seats and 17 percent of senior executive positions.
A total of 28 percent of the companies on the tech scorecard had no women on the senior executive teams. The report also noted a consistent trend among companies to have two or fewer women in senior roles.
“The absence of women leaders in BC’s tech sector is pronounced,” the report reads. “However, more and more companies understand the importance of having a diverse leadership team and are focused on attracting and retaining more women, as well as other underrepresented groups.”
More pronounced was the lack of Indigenous representation. There were zero people who identified as Indigenous found on boards or in executive roles among the companies surveyed.
“This is an area that requires action,” the report reads. “With so many companies aiming to improve diversity in order to engage thought-leadership and harness the promise of diversity through innovation, the inclusion of Indigenous people is imperative.”
The report also provides representation breakdowns by different tech sectors. The top-performing sector was digital and media, with 50 percent female representation on boards and 47 percent women on senior executive teams.
Alternatively, the video game sector was the worst-performing, with only eight percent women in senior executive positions. The number of women on boards were undisclosed or unavailable.
Moving the dial
In 2017, BetaKit wrote on the Where’s the Dial Now? report, which examines the gender imbalances in the tech industry across all of Canada.
The report found that women accounted for 13 percent of the average tech company’s executive team. For the companies that did have female executives, women also made up 13 percent of the board. In companies with no female executives, only four percent of board members were women.
Unlike the Minerva BC tech scorecard, a striking 53 percent of tech companies had no female executives at all.
The BC tech scorecard report noted that while progress is being made in terms of gender representation, there is a long way to go until equal representation is achieved, referencing statistics from the 2016 Tech Talent BC report, which stated that women represented only 15-20 percent of the BC technology labour market, despite accounting for 45 percent of the Canadian labour force.
“More women in leadership will empower the girls in our programs to step into their full potential—and take their place in an industry that relies on diversity of thought and innovation to succeed,” Tina Strehlke, CEO of Minerva BC, said in the report.
Read the full report here.
Feature image courtesy Minerva.