Despite recent efforts by technology companies to improve gender equality and parity in the workplace, a recent survey conducted on behalf of SAP Canada shows that an increasing number of women in Canada feel the negative reputation of the tech industry still exists.
In fact, nearly half (43 percent) of the female students and young professionals recently polled do not believe tech companies really want to hire women.
“Young women are hesitating on even considering a career in technology.”
“Young women are hesitating on even considering a career in technology because they don’t believe technology companies sincerely want to give them a chance,” said Kim Gastle, vice president of SAP Canada. “We want to shine a light on this issue and raise this concern because we recognize that a well-rounded workforce brings together stronger ideas.”
“When we have diversity in our teams, we can reflect our customers better, come up with a greater mix of ideas and spur innovation,” she said. “A career in technology can provide many opportunities and anyone should be able to benefit from this.”
The study further showed that only 35 percent of women who have chosen an area of focus have chosen STEM for future studies or their career. And of those, a third (34 percent) do not have a female role model in the field, suggesting that more can be done to create a path for students interested in employment opportunities in the tech space.
The survey also identifies other troubling factors, including how 54 percent of those polled said that technology companies have a bad reputation when it comes to gender equality, and 48 percent of women do not know how to develop the skills required for a career in tech.
“The results of this study are proof that while the tech sector has made strides advocating for increased diversity, more work still needs to be done creating environments where women feel valued and represented,” said Jodi Kovitz, CEO of #Movethedial. “If we do not take the time to thoughtfully engage and retain women in tech, we risk creating tech solutions and ecosystems that cater to a single homogenous group.
“It is imperative that we illustrate to young women that tech is for them, they can excel in it and that their contributions are an integral part of the industry’s continued success,” she added.
SAP’s survey also highlighted regional differences in the perceptions of STEM programs and tech companies from young women across the country. Of the respondents who opted not to pursue a career in STEM, 46 percent of women in Manitoba and Saskatchewan made the choice because they do not believe they have the skills for the field, while only 16 percent of Quebecois respondents shared the same sentiment.
According to the study, British Columbia is leading the charge of women in STEM fields. STEM students in BC are most likely to have fellow female STEM classmates, while Ontario is the least likely to.