Women Hitting a Wall in IT

Women in information technology careers are still facing a glass ceiling, with most staying in junior or mid-level management positions, according to a new report.

The report, by Women in Technology, found that many women in IT fields feel they are being passed over for promotion in favor of male colleagues. While 61 percent of respondents have more than 10 years of experience in the tech sector, for example, only 26 percent have reached senior management or board level, the study found.

"These results indicate that the big strides toward equality that we had hoped for in 2007 have not yet happened and that the gender balance in the workplace still has a long way to go," the report states.

While long career breaks for things like maternity leave and child care could be a reason women miss out on promotions, the survey results do not differ greatly from 2007, when the vast majority of respondents had not taken and did not intend to take a career break after maternity leave, the survey found.

A number of benefits are available to women in IT, however, the study found. Remote working is the most widely offered and popular benefit: 80 percent of employers offer remote working options, and 71 percent of women take the opportunity. Flexible working hours also are popular, with 75 percent of businesses offering them and 61 percent of women using the option. Working part time or sharing a job were rejected by most women in the survey.

In addition, salary, benefits, career opportunities and flexible work hours ranked as the top four reasons why women apply for jobs with certain organizations, the study found.

In June, the Merit Systems Protection Board found that women remain relatively scarce in a few federal job fields including information technology and engineering. The discrepancy stems more from the fact that men outnumber women in science and technology-related degrees conferred each year, MSPB found.

What implications does the Women in Technology study hold for federal agencies? Are women in federal IT jobs also facing a glass ceiling when it comes to promotions?