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Why Less Women are Progressing into Leadership Roles – How can this be solved?

Micro-study of senior and lead level tech roles highlights differences in access and tenure for women

Gender inequality in tech is an ongoing problem and a critical subject of discussion. The World Economic Forum recently published a set of four recommended pathways for getting women into tech leadership roles, noting that gender equality “remains an unfulfilled promise”.

A recent study of the gender balance of Chief Information Officers at FTSE 100 companies by Frank Recruitment Group, a Tenth Revolution Group company, revealed that in 2022, women made up just 27% of CIOs and that their average tenure at that level was a full year shorter than their male counterparts.

To follow up on these enquiries into women in tech leadership roles, researchers at Revolent, a Tenth Revolution Group company, have conducted a case study of middle management tech roles across the top companies by market cap in Canada, the US, and the UK. Looking specifically at senior and lead roles for architects, developers, and engineers, the findings indicate fewer women than men at middle management, and that those women who are present seem to have less time in those roles as well.

Key findings:

  • Across Canada, the US, and the UK, women occupy just 13% of middle management tech roles. In Canada women make up 17%, and in both the US and UKthe figure is11%
  • The average tenure for men in middle management tech roles is 3.7 years, compared to 2.5 years for women
  • At the senior level, the tenure gap is 1.4 years. At lead level, the gap is 1 year
  • Women make up just 22% of tech professionals who have a tenure of more than a decade in their role

Chairman & CEO James Lloyd-Townshend commented:

“Gender inequality’s still a hot topic in tech, and for good reason – progress has remained too slow across the board. This new data on middle management in particular offers us further insight into the conversation about leadership. If we aren’t supporting women into senior and lead roles, it prohibits their chances of reaching the board level. The shorter average tenure that women currently in those roles have compared to men is also quite significant. At best it means women have generally started in those positions more recently, but it could also indicate that women are leaving their posts which is real cause for concern.

“In the context of the tech skills gap, gender inequality is an even more pressing issue. And this study really bolsters the idea that we need to be thinking about pathways – how we can empower women to pursue tech at every level, so that there are women at entry level who can progress into middle management roles, and so that there are women in middle management who can progress to the executive level. Access and support are important at every level.”

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