The pandemic has affected everyone across the world, but the disruption has not been equal.
Women have largely born the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic; they have left the workforce in droves because of caring responsibilities and the fact they dominate industries where working from home was impossible, like hospitality.
However, even in sectors that have been less disrupted by COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns – like tech – women are still facing “persistent inequity, condescending treatment, and skepticism in their abilities”, according to Skillsoft’s 2021 Women in Tech report.
The learning and development (L&D) company surveyed 1,100 female tech workers in the US, the UK, Canada, and France. It found that 70% of respondents said men outnumbered women at their workplace by at least two to one.
They also reported that it took women longer to climb the corporate ladder. While men in leadership roles had between 15 and 20 years’ experience, women in similar roles had at least 26 years’ experience.
As a result, Skillsoft’s report noted that women “believe there are different standards set for them versus the men in their field.
“Women are tired of not being taken less seriously. They feel excluded and they are often outnumbered.
“This is problematic for organizations as well as the women involved because it eliminates their valuable perspectives, reinforces inequity and gaps — all of which impact the way organizations perform.”
The solution? Invest in L&D
Given that the world is living through a ‘Great Resignation’ and therefore employers need to retain their staff, what must tech companies do to create inclusive, equitable workplaces that women want to work in?
The answer is L&D. Skillsoft’s research found that employees want their employers to provide more opportunities for career development and training (55%), as well as for mentorship and coaching (43%).
86% of respondents said that training was extremely or very important to them, but only 42% said their employers offer this despite the struggle to fill tech skills gaps.
“Investing in the upskilling, reskilling, and development of women in the workplace is a proactive endeavor. To recruit women and enable them for future success in tech, organizations must invest in development programs at all career stages,” noted the report.
It recommended that employers build “the power skills of resilience, agility, and empathy” and “invest resources in acquiring, developing, and advancing women in the workplace”.
Skillsoft’s report also found that 41% of female tech workers want an equitable workplace culture. In terms of culture, women are particularly interested in pay equity with 38% saying this was their biggest challenge at work.
Skillsoft’s SVP Of product management Potoula Chresomales concluded: “Women make up less than 40 percent of the global workforce, and for that number to increase, female employees must be empowered with continuous training, professional development, and career advancement, as well as equal pay.
“The time is now for organizations to tackle gender disparity head-on. By doing so, we can build more inclusive, equitable, and competitive businesses.”
Now is the time to act by improving your workplaces, and investing in L&D tech – like LinkedIn Learning, Degreed or Skillsoft – to help fill skills gaps, keep learning topical and relevant, and ultimately attract and retain female talent.