Published on March 7, 2014
Women In IT Strategies and Initiatives to encourage more gender diversity March 2014 www.greythorn.com.sg | +65 6590 9150 | Join us on
Executive Summary Salary was also a key driver for women’s career aspirations and disappointingly half of the women surveyed believed there was still a gender gap in pay within IT. This was even more pronounced when analysing responses from those women who had been in the industry for over 11 years. Current statistics show the participation of women in the IT industry in Singapore to be around 15%. Why are more women not drawn to a career in this often lucrative industry? And once there why don’t they stay? Despite this, an overwhelming 85% of women wanted to stay in the IT industry, however many cited this was simply due to the difficultly in changing industries. Global technology recruitment specialists Greythorn, with offices in Singapore, surveyed their female IT candidates to uncover some answers to help companies redress this imbalance. The results are summarised in this report. Whilst is it promising to see many companies now addressing attraction strategies to encourage more females into this industry, an over-riding theme throughout the results was the lack of flexibility offered by employers, whether that be working from home options or flexitime. This was considered critical not only in attracting women to the industry, but retaining them following maternity leave. Given the ability of modern technology to allow working remotely, companies would do well to consider better family-friendly options, if they have not already done so. Dung Nguyen, Manager at Greythorn Singapore commented: “The technology sector is growing rapidly in Asia and the battle for talent is becoming more fierce. There is substantial research to show that organisations with gender diverse management teams perform far better. The benefit in promoting gender diversity is significant and we are delighted that many of our clients are committing to hiring and retaining the best technology talent in the market, regardless of gender.” We hope you find the results insightful. We would be happy to discuss any of this further with you. Greythorn www.greythorn.com.sg | +65 6590 9150 | Join us on
Introduction In February 2014, Greythorn, specialist Technology Demographics: 141 responses from women in IT in Singapore recruitment, carried out a survey of women in IT in Singapore, receiving 140+ responses. 89% of respondents The purpose of the survey was to uncover women’s have been in the IT experiences and beliefs regarding equality in the IT profession greater than industry in Singapore. 6 years In particular, topics included were: • Gender Diversity • Pay Equality • Strategies and Initiatives to encourage women to join the IT industry and to retain them • What other companies are doing that has achieved this The survey was carried out by means of an electronic questionnaire and all results are anonymous. 57% have direct reports www.greythorn.com.sg | +65 6590 9150 | Join us on
Encouraging women into IT Career progression and a good salary are the two most important drivers for women when choosing a career. Third, was flexible work options, illustrating the importance of this benefit. When asked about what would inspire women to pursue a career in the IT industry, again, flexible work conditions was stated by 70% of respondents. Is this an area where the IT industry could look to improve its current offering and reputation? The perception of long hours may actively discourage women from beginning careers in IT. Offering work from home options or flexihours or utilizing mobile or cloud technologies may be a simple solution for some roles. Profiling female role models in senior IT positions was also seen as inspirational. One third of respondents also stated sponsoring of graduate programs for women in IT would make a difference. One such program is Microsoft’s DigiGirlz program described overleaf. www.greythorn.com.sg | +65 6590 9150 | Join us on
. Encouraging women into IT Case Study: Microsoft’s DigiGirlz program Case Study: Profiling female role models in IT “The DigiGirlz program gives high school girls the opportunity to learn about careers in technology, connect with Microsoft employees, and participate in hands-on computer and technology workshops.” “In January 2012, Ayna Agarwal, a Microsoft intern co-founded she++, a community that seeks to inspire women’s involvement in computer science. she++ sponsored Stanford's first conference on women in technology in April 2012, an event that attracted more than 250 attendees and hosted a line-up of inspirational women engineers, including employees of such Bay Area tech firms as Google, Facebook, Dropbox, and Pinterest. After positive feedback the she++ conference has become an annual event at Stanford, one of many initiatives that she++ sponsors in its effort to create momentum for female technologists”. Source: Microsoft.com DigiGirlz High Tech Camp Microsoft DigiGirlz High Tech Camp is a multiday experience that gives high school girls an in-depth look at Microsoft and careers in technology”. Source: Microsoft.com www.greythorn.com.sg | +65 6590 9150 | Join us on
Why Women Leave IT A significant 68% of females believe that women leave the IT industry due to family reasons. This could be interpreted as either women leaving to have a family and not returning to the IT industry or that once having a family, the struggle to balance both work and family is resulting in women leaving. The IT industry is renowned for long hours and with a lack of flexibility cited by 52% of respondents, it would appear no longer appealing to mothers. Career progression was also an issue. Why is this? A recent study by NUS Business School and Board of 677 SGX listed companies found that Singapore has one of the lowest number of females on the boards of its publicly listed companies, despite a high workforce participation rate and literacy rate. It stated “At the current rate of improvement, it will take until 2026 for Singapore to catch up to regional benchmark Australia - that is, if Australia remains at current gender diversity levels”. Singapore Board Diversity Report, National University of Singapore Business School 2013. www.greythorn.com.sg | +65 6590 9150 | Join us on
Pay Equality A substantial half of women in IT believe there is a gender gap being offered in salary. Key reasons given by respondents of the survey were: 1. A perception that: • Women will leave to go on maternity • Men do a better job • Women can’t work as long hours due to family commitments 2. Assertiveness • Men bargain harder • Men are less afraid/are more assertive when asking for higher salaries 3. Unconscious bias • Many senior roles are male and therefore there could exist an unconscious bias towards their own gender Interestingly, only 30% of women who have been in the IT profession for less than 5 years, believe there is gender inequality in pay, however this changes dramatically when comparing the senior professionals - 68% of which believe there is inequality. Is this a sign of change for the younger generation, or reflection that those who have been in the profession longer perceive more inequality? www.greythorn.com.sg | +65 6590 9150 | Join us on
Once again flexibility was the over-riding initiative Initiatives to Keep Women in IT favored by 70% of respondents to ensure women remain in the IT profession. Related to this is creating a family friendly work culture. Companies would do well to review their flexible work options, is there an opportunity for companies to consider remote access options? Cloud computing may also offer some solutions. Another option may be internal mobility options. Whilst all roles may not be suitable for flexible hours, there may be other opportunities within an IT team for women who are seeking flexihours or job share options, particularly after returning from maternity leave. In this way, the organization retains the talent whilst providing a solution to a work-life balance. Transparent remuneration policy in what is deemed a traditionally male-dominated industry, would also do well to dispel stereotypes hindering women joining the IT industry. www.greythorn.com.sg | +65 6590 9150 | Join us on
Initiatives to Keep Women in IT Unfortunately a substantial 82% of respondents have not experienced any positive initiatives to encourage their career in IT. Of those 18% who have, the top 6 initiatives are shown to the right. It is encouraging to see some original ideas being employed. www.greythorn.com.sg | +65 6590 9150 | Join us on
Initiatives to Keep Women in IT – case studies Video collaboration enabling flexible work – Polycom Utilizing mobile and cloud technologies – NTT “Polycom is the global leader in video and voice collaboration and we practice what we preach with regards to flexible working. Around the world, 100 per cent of Polycom's employees are equipped with tools like video conferencing technology, which supports our flexible working policy. Many staff take advantage of this opportunity to allow them to work from home or work remotely. “In this highly competitive industry, to be able to be recognized and be seen as a key contributor in the company, women need to put in double or triple efforts. Introducing flexibility measures at work or having flexible work conditions are important especially for working mothers who need to juggle family and work. This would encourage more women IT talent to stay on in this industry. One great benefit to our working mothers returning to work after maternity leave is to use video to reconnect and ease themselves back into work. Importantly, not being confined to an office does not necessarily mean that mothers are at the losing end where career progress is concerned.” A Polycom spokesperson Riding on the mobile and cloud technologies, we (at NTT) have taken the steps to allow our staff to be able to work at any place and anytime.” HR Executive Director NTT Polycom Singapore was awarded the 2013 ‘Best Company Award for Mums’, by the National Trade Union Congress for their efforts in offering flexible work arrangements and helping employees to achieve work-life balance harmonization. www.greythorn.com.sg | +65 6590 9150 | Join us on
Initiatives to Keep Women in IT – case studies Maternity Networking Program Task-Based Employment One such initiative suggested was a “maternity networking program” which offers employees returning from leave a support network to assist with the transition back to the workforce with other mothers who had recently experienced the same thing. A unique but simple idea. Other organizations had implemented diversity forums who met regularly to discuss initiatives to increase diversity. Another initiative gaining momentum is task-based employment, which gives employees the opportunity to manage their time based on the successful completion of tasks. With employees free to come and go as they please regarding hours and annual leave the focus is on the quality of work rather than the quantity of hours. There is some evidence to suggest such programs increase productivity and decrease leave taking. A 100% mobile workforce – Deloitte At Deloitte, work-life integration is a key part of its talent experience to help employees achieve better work-life harmonisation. In 2008, Deloitte Singapore introduced Work@Deloitte, a work-life integration scheme that allows employees to adopt flexible working hours or to work from home. Deloitte provides all staff with remote access via VPN into its network from the users laptops. Today, Deloitte Singapore has a 96% mobile workforce and the practice is working towards a 100% mobile workforce. www.greythorn.com.sg | +65 6590 9150 | Join us on
Will women stay in IT? Despite the overwhelming gender imbalance in the IT industry, the good news is that the majority (84%) of those women who had now chosen this career path, plan to stay. Unfortunately a key reason was simply that it was too difficult to switch career, rather than a choice they have made. Many did however state they enjoyed working in such a cutting edge challenging industry which is forever evolving. “With technological advancement, work is no longer confined to location. Work is not somewhere you go to, but something you do. Performance should not be measured face to face, but rather on the outcomes. We urge more employers and employees to embrace and explore the possibilities [of how] technology and flexible work arrangements can lead to win-win outcomes for both.” Sylvia Choo, Director, Women’s Development Secretariat, National Trades Union Congress. www.greythorn.com.sg | +65 6590 9150 | Join us on
Suggestions for companies 1. Make gender diversity a priority, review your existing policies and culture – are there any barriers to women, either explicit or understated 2. Review current hiring procedures • Are females on the interview panel? 3. Consider more flexible working options • ‘Task-Based’ working eg Gap, whereby the hours of work are not determined by set 9-5, but by the time it takes to do that day’s activities • Remote access options 4. Provide management training for females with direct reports 5. Provide female mentors for “return to work” programs/forums or to encourage females to progress up the corporate ladder within the organization 6. Offer equal pay for roles, regardless of the gender of the incumbent www.greythorn.com.sg | +65 6590 9150 | Join us on
Contact Us Dung Nguyen Managing Consultant 65 6590 9148 firstname.lastname@example.org Craig Brewer Director - Singapore 65 6590 9154 email@example.com Disclaimer This research was carried out by means of an electronic questionnaire. The information was supplemented with data and market information that Greythorn has access to. The results are provided as generic market information only. Greythorn does not make any warranties regarding the use, validity, accuracy or reliability of the results and information obtained. Greythorn will not be liable for any damages of any kind arising out of or relating to use of this information. www.greythorn.com.sg | +65 6590 9150 | Join us on
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