Photo: Unsplash/Paul Bence
The study conducted by the UOC and the UB, with support from RecerCaixa, reveals that the level of unemployment is higher among women and that there is still a glass ceiling
The technology sector continues to be dominated by men. Despite several studies confirming that women are as or more qualified than men to work in this sector, the fact is that it is a very difficult sector to feminize. Not only because the number of women studying degrees in this field is still much lower than that of men, but also because it is much more difficult for women to enter and prosper in the job market. With the same training and experience, the rate of unemployment and temporary employment among women is higher than among men. This can be seen in a study carried out by the UOC and the UB, with support from RecerCaixa, which shows that for every woman working in the ICT sector there are 3.5 men. Only 23.8% of people employed in this sector are women. Between the ages of 31 and 45, the employment difference between men and women is two women for every 5.3 men.
The research, which is part of the GENTALENT project coordinated by researchers Ana M. González Ramos from the IN3/UOC and Elisabet Almeda Samaranch from the UB/COPOLIS group, was presented this Friday in Barcelona at the GENTALENT conference: Recruitment, retention and promotion of women’s talent in the technology sector.
To identify the obstacles and opportunities for women in this sector, the researchers analysed the generic statistical data, such as the 2015 Labour Force Survey (EPA). Human Resources managers, company directors and headhunters and recruiters were also interviewed and 300 women were surveyed. In this case, an online form was used which was linked through professional associations.
A sector of opportunities that needs a woman’s vision
“During our research, we have seen that work dynamics in the sector make it very difficult for women to be able to combine work with a personal life. We have also encountered many cases of women who say that gender has been an obstacle to finding or progressing in a job”, González says. The UOC researcher also adds that, in this sector, employers, faced with the same profiles, choose men. A fact that reveals that there is a certain latent/cultural mistrust of women's ability to do their job well in the technology sector.
Currently, only around 20% of girls choose technology degrees despite it being a sector with lots of professional opportunities, a trend that will continue to rise. By 2030, it is estimated that 85% of the jobs that we know today will have disappeared. However, professions linked to the field of technology and engineering will grow, as they are essential for the design and development of the technology needed for a hyperconnected digital society.
González said that the dynamic of the sector needs changing and young people need to be made aware of the need to break through the glass ceiling and give access and projection to women. “Women should design the future of technology”, says the researcher. She also revealed that companies, for example, value women’s soft skills: “It has been shown that women joining work teams reduces internal tensions and raises the effectiveness of decisions and project results”.
To facilitate women's access, experts recommend looking beyond technological profiles, that selection processes should have a panel with different profiles and be mixed, negotiating salaries from a gender perspective and also ensuring possibilities for work-life balance.
This project was funded through the RecerCaixa 2014 call. Both the conference held on Friday at the Faculty of Economics and Business at the UB and the study featured the collaboration of the Women's Observatory, the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, AMIT-CAT, COETIC, COITT, Donestech and Alia.