Women IT professionals on a faster track than men
Illustration: Getty images
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Women IT professionals on a faster track than men

Maxine-Laurie Marshall — March 2016

New research shows women are rising through the ranks of IT more rapidly than men, despite still being heavily outnumbered.


Women in IT are likely to be promoted faster than their male counterparts, according to data from crowdsourcing salary comparison site Emolument — but they still only occupy a tiny fraction of roles at the very top of the profession.

The study of more than 4,000 UK IT professionals, published to mark International Women’s Day, reveals women typically reach management level three years faster than men (in nine rather than 12 years) and they are appointed CTO/CIO two and a half years faster (in 13 versus 15.5 years for men).

However, the survey also reveals a colossal gap between the numbers of men and women working in top IT roles. Of the senior developers who responded to the survey, only 6% were women; with IT managers the figure was 8%, and of those heading up IT only 7% were female.

That picture of chronic under-representation sits in stark contrast to research covering other parts of the world. In 2015, I–CIO highlighted how 35% of the top 20 CIOs across North and South America were women

“Demand for skilled IT professionals is breaking down traditional barriers which have held women back from being promoted in favour of their male counterparts.”

While the numbers may be low, the Emolument survey suggests that the gender pay gap is being eradicated by high demand in the field of IT. Both men and women are banking above average salaries due to an IT skills shortage, especially in software development. The median salary for a female software developer was £52,000 ($74,000), while women in IT senior management with up to 15 years’ experience were earning £81,000 ($115,000).

Commenting on the survey, Alice Leguay, co-founder and COO at Emolument, says: “The ongoing need for competent and skilled IT professionals is proving to be a blessing for women. The demand is such that it is breaking down traditional professional barriers, which have held women back from being promoted in favor of their male counterparts. The missing piece to this pleasing picture is a growth in absolute numbers of female IT professionals, which we are likely to witness in the coming years as more and more female IT graduates enter the jobs market.”

First published March 2016
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