The tech industry’s gender problem extends out further than Silicon Valley, according to a new report that shows men outnumber women 7 to 3 in tech jobs in New York City — and nationwide.
Despite holding 41 percent of science and engineering degrees, women barely fill over a quarter of tech jobs. There’s up to a 50 percent gap in the number of male and female tech employees, HR&A Advisors, a New York-based economic development consulting firm, wrote in their report. In New York, nearly 80 percent of all developers are men, where women only make up the majority of workers in the medical and clinical lab jobs that pay less.
New York’s tech scene grew faster than the industry did nationwide, adding 18 percent more jobs since 2003 compared to 4 percent nationally, the report stated. But despite that growth, the report punctuates the tech industry’s continued battle to reach a gender balance as the industry expands.
The report meshes with the trend in major metropolitan areas across the country, where men hold 75 percent of almost 2 milllion computing-based jobs, according to analysis conducted by FiveThirtyEight.com. Of those areas with at least 50,000 people working in computers as programmers, developers and computer scientists, Washington, D.C. had the highest concentration of female employees, at 30 percent.
Women’s representation has lagged for decades in the typically male-dominated science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Even as more women graduate with STEM degrees and enter the field, it’s hard for them to get recruited and for companies to retain them.
Research shows that women job candidates are less likely to get hired even when they have the same skill set as a man up for the position. Many tech companies turn away female applicants because they’re a poor fit or claim they aren’t qualified. Even with the same level of education, men earn wages up to 73 percent more than women in the same roles. Also, men largely hold leadership positions, and no more than one woman sits on the board of directors for the vast majority of Silicon Valley’s top companies.
Once hired, women in tech often battle the “brogrammer” workplace culture, often leading to gender exclusion and reinforcement of the industry’s seemingly embedded stereotypes, from facing professional retaliation for spurning a male coworkers advances to biased policies that overlook issues such as harassment.
That gender-biased environment has also been a factor in women leaving STEM jobs much sooner than their male counterparts, widening the employment gap. However, New York City has made strides recently that could help counteract the disparities revealed in HR&A’s report. Earlier this year, New York City passed a law that requires employers give pregnant women reasonable accommodations, such as breaks and restrictions from manual labor. The city also increased the maximum amount of sick days to 40 hours a year, a move that could keep more women from feeling pressure to leave jobs to take care of their families.