Women Are Still Scarce in IT Leadership Roles

Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com

Researchers expect a decline in female CIOs will reverse in coming years.

The proportion of women in information technology leadership positions has moved little over the past decade, and that statistic may even be trending downward, a new study suggests.

The new 2014 CIO Survey by Harvey Nash of 3,211 chief information officers worldwide found that just 7 percent of respondents are women, a drop of 2 percent over last year’s survey. While nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of CIOs recognize this gender imbalance and have implemented diversity programs, the proportion of women in IT over the past decade has remained “stubbornly low,” the report stated.

Women IT leaders are slightly more common in the United States, however, with females representing 11 percent of U.S. respondents, Harvey Nash found. Another bright spot is that when compared to other fields, such as human resources, a greater proportion of women in IT are promoted into senior positions.

“This suggests that while we do not yet see enough women entering the industry, if they do embark on a career in IT there is more chance that they could realize their full potential than many other sectors,” the report stated. “If more young women can be persuaded to enter the IT profession, it looks as though both they and the industry will benefit.”

While the global percentage of women CIOs actually lost ground this year, Harvey Nash projects the number will increase as more Millennials move into IT leadership roles. The report projects 13 percent of future CIOs will be women in coming years.

Meanwhile, CIOs in the U.S. also were slightly less affected by the IT skills shortage and more likely to hire IT workers than their global counterparts. More than half (55 percent) believe skills shortage will have an impact, 5 percent lower than the global average, and 46 percent plan to increase IT headcount, 4 percent higher than the global average. 

(Image via Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com)