The tech industry employed about 7.6 million workers as of 2019, but in the five largest tech companies in the U.S., only 29-45% of those employees were women, and only 26-34% of those were leadership roles.
This is partly due to the “broken rung” on the workplace ladder, which prevents women from moving up into manager-level positions, and women of color are particularly affected. TrustRadius’ 2021 Women in Tech Report found that “37% of women of color in tech feel that racial bias is a barrier to promotion.” Additionally, women of color reported feeling less confident than white women about the possibility of being promoted.
To address these issues and begin to repair the broken rung, the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce will host the second event in the Minority Women Lead series, “Repairing the Rung: Women Climbing the Tech Ladder.” This virtual conversation, held on August 18 from 10:00-11:30 a.m. PST, will feature a panel of powerful women who forged successful paths in the tech industry. Speakers include Susan Jin Davis, Chief Sustainability Officer at Comcast Corporation; Grace Lee, President and CEO of Ashford Connex; Tanya Lombard, Vice President of External Affairs - Head of Multicultural Engagement and Strategic Alliances at AT&T; and Caren Khoo, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Verizon who are all incredibly successful women in tech who can speak into the industry’s issues and possible solutions.
Although this gap in gender and minority employment in tech has always been present, when coupled with the pandemic’s effects on the job market, women of color were even more disproportionately affected. McKinsey & Company found that women of color were more likely to have been laid off during COVID-19, and a reported two million women are now considering leaving the workforce as a result.
Data projects that jobs in the computer and information technology occupations alone will grow 11% between 2019-2029, which is much faster than the average for all other occupations. However, only 18% of computer science bachelor’s degrees in the U.S. are held by women. With job opportunities in the tech industry expected to rise even after the pandemic, women in the workforce are needed now more than ever.
The statistics show that women, particularly women of color, are scarce in the tech workforce, and opportunities for promotion seem even more limited. While the numbers tell us what needs to change, conversations addressing and examining the issue are the first step toward that. “Repairing the Rung: Women Climbing the Tech Ladder” is an opportunity to confer with successful women in tech for insight into how we can repair the rung and support women in the upward climb.