Fewer Women Holding Top Jobs In Tech

A new study out this week reveals a glaring lack of women in senior technology positions at U.S.companies.  The survey by technology outsourcing and recruiting firm Harvey Nash Group found that women accounted for just nine percent of the nation’s chief information officers, down from 11 percent last year and 12 percent in 2010.  Women are not exactly flocking into the top spot at technology firms either, according to tracking of CEO turnover by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.  Last year, there were 184 CEO departures at U.S.-based technology firms.  Of the 166 departure announcements in which the replacement CEO was identified, only six were women.  So far this year, just four women have been named as replacement CEOs for the 57 CEO departures announced in the technology sector through April.  The lack of women in the top technology positions may only worsen in the years to come, due to the relative lack of women pursuing tech-related degrees.   The latest available data from the NationalCenterfor Education Statistics show that the percentage of women earning computer and information sciences degrees has actually declined over the last two decades.  In 1992-93, 7,047 women earned 29 percent of the 24,557 bachelor’s degrees awarded in the field of computer and information sciences.  Women represented 28 percent of the 9,530 earning master’s degrees in the same field.  In the class of 2009-10, women accounted for just 18 percent of those earning bachelor’s degrees in computer and information science.  Meanwhile, the number of women earning master’s degrees in this field went from about 2,600 in 1993 to 4,900 in 2010.  The number of men earning master’s degrees expanded by more than 6,100 over the same period, growing from about 6,900 in 1993 to just over 13,000 in 2010.  Could a lack of women pursuing technology degrees lead to labor shortages in the near future? What can schools do to lure more women into science and technology educational tracks? What can companies do to address the dearth of women in technology leadership roles within their organizations?

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