The IT industry has been warned it is likely to be hit by even more talent losses after new research found that women are on the brink of walking away from their career for good.
The new survey of 600 female IT workers revealed an alarming divide among women in the sector to either step into new roles or step out of the workforce.
Leadership development organisation Women Rising surveyed 1,200 women (half of which work in IT) about their experiences in the workplace.
The report found that more than half (56 per cent) of women working in IT have thought about pursuing a promotion in the past 18 months, while 34 per cent are looking to amplify their career with a stretch assignment.
However, the impact of poor performance, experiences of negative bias, burnout and a lack of leadership has many women working in IT unsure of their career path.
Almost half (46 per cent) of those working in IT admit that have considered walking away from the industry in the past 18 months, while 33 per cent have thought about reducing their hours.
One fifth (21 per cent) of non-retirement age women have also pondered leaving the workforce, apparently disillusioned by the job.
The research by Women Rising echoes findings by the World Economic Forum, which has also found that more than 50 per cent of women in the technology industry are likely to quit before the age of 35.
It highlights a significant retention problem in the tech industry, made worse by the gender pay gap that currently sits at 13.3 per cent across the board.
A big part of the problem is post-pandemic burnout and a lack of confidence at work, while many also admit that they aren’t receiving enough support from their manager.
Women Rising founder and CEO Megan Dalla-Camina says the research proved the need for organisations to provide opportunities for women to gain exposure and visibility by involving them in high-profile projects or initiatives, and actively promoting their accomplishments to the wider team.
Developing transition plans that identify the steps needed to move from current levels to the next and providing the necessary support to help women take action is also crucial.
She also urged employers to address the ‘motherhood penalty’ by offering flexible work arrangements, such as virtual or part-time work, and offering access to affordable childcare and family-friendly policies, such as parental leave and flexible scheduling.
The report also recommends sponsoring women to attend external workshops and training programs, and ensuring that women have access to senior leaders who can offer advice and guidance as important steps.
Women in Technology has been advocating for gender equality for women in IT for 25 years. General manager Lisa Cawthorne says its critical that women experience a sense of belonging and can build meaningful connections to build a thriving career.
“Collectively, we can work towards creating a fairer and more equitable society where all Australians have the opportunity to participate in and benefit from Australia’s growing digital economy and thriving STEM industries. Because together, we are stronger,” said Cawthorne.
According to Australia’s STEM Workforce Report 2020, digital innovation is expected to deliver $315 billion in gross economic value to Australia between 2020 and 2030.