Throughout the course of history, women have had to fight for their rights within the workplace, and the world. Women only gained the right to vote in many countries during the 1920s for example. And who could forget the marriage bar, which ran its course until 1973 in Ireland. Ireland’s late abolishment of the marriage bar means that there are women alive who were affected by it. However, we’re also still seeing inequality during current times. Only 13% of CEOs and 28% of CFOs in Ireland are female. While we are seeing improvements, we still have a way to go. How are quotas helping solve is this issue, specifically in tech? And what advantages come with working in the industry? Whether you’re applying for graduate programmes in tech or looking to get promoted, we hope to clarify tech’s response to gender inequality and the perks of working in the sector.

What is a gender quota?

A general definition is “Quotas can be applied in order to correct a previous gender imbalance in different areas and at different levels, including in political assemblies, decision-making positions in public, political life and economic life (corporate boards), as well as to ensure the inclusion of women and their participation in international bodies, or as a tool to promote equal access to training opportunities or jobs”, according to the European Institute for Gender Equality.

So what about within the tech industry?

STEM areas have always lacked female involvement, in 2018 the Women in STEM Ireland found that only 25% of workers in STEM industries were women. One huge factor leading to this could be gender-stereotypical beliefs, that typically men dominate in tech and science roles. However, companies are putting in place gender quotas and programmes to get more women involved in the tech space. PwC for example is now offering a Women in Tech programme, stating it’s their mission to “to empower, educate and mentor women as they develop their careers in technology”. Ever since they formed the project, PwC have seen the number of women in technology teams increase from 15% to 31%. It is also noticeable in smaller companies. Wral Tech Wire mentions that Egnyte, a growing tech firm, are utilizing quotas to work on “gender diversity challenge in tech, and specifically @Egnyte”.

See below, some of the women who have taken part in PwC’s Women in Tech programme:

Alana Storan –
Senior Manager in Technology Consulting

Nimah Carroll –
Senior Manager in Data Analytics Consulting

Lisa Hoban –
Senior Associate in IT

Are there benefits to pursuing a career in tech as opposed to other industries?

While every industry has its perks and benefits, tech as a whole can be extremely accommodating and flexible with its employees. Here are some highly valuable benefits you can receive while working within the tech space.

Flexibility around working from home

During the pandemic we’ve seen remote working skyrocket. However, even before these times, the tech industry always had great flexibility surrounding working from home (WFH). Think about it; a lot of the jobs in tech, from marketing to software engineering, do not require regular face to face interactions. And the past year and a half have only highlighted this point. Facebook, Dropbox and Microsoft have all announced permanent WTF options for their employees, giving them the choice of what best suits their working style.

Good parental leave options

While it might not be on top of your priority list, most tech companies are pretty understanding when it comes to parental leave. It’s also common for companies to offer leave to workers around the time their partner has given birth, to allow for that initial quality time. Amazon, IBM and Netflix all over hugely beneficial parental leave programmes to their employees, as well as supports when employees return to their job. It’s good to keep this in mind if having children is going to be a part of your life plan.

Benefits in Kind and Perks

As tech can be quite a competitive job market, companies will usually offer enticing perks and benefits in kind. Many offer great insurance premiums that can cover family members you nominate, not just yourself. Salesforce, for example, also have a policy that they will pay for an employee’s car once they are 5-6 years working for them. Adobe, Intel and Airbnb provide great additional resources and benefits that employees can take advantage of.

Career growth

Tech is a massive space that’s ever-growing and everchanging. So it makes sense that it’s an excellent industry for career growth, as employees gain skills and knowledge. Whether it’s tech support, cybersecurity or web design, there is room for career progression. Forbes gives the example of Ajit Kulkarni, VP of Product at Chronicled. He mentions going forward to his manager about career growth, and she clearly went through the different skills and attributes Ajit would need depending on where in tech he wanted to progress. So research and ask around, as it may lead you to the next stage of your career.

Competitive and negotiable salary

As previously mentioned, there is a lot of room for career growth within tech. So this also means there is flexibility surrounding salary. There are so many opportunities in the tech space, that you don’t have to settle for less than what you’re worth.

With the idea of negotiating salary, for me personally I always felt quite uncomfortable when asked this question during my first couple of interviews. Compared to my male peers, who had no problem bargaining for a higher salary for themselves, I often felt cheeky or too forward when exploring that option. I think a lot of women might feel the same, as society often tells us to be polite and submissive, and the phrase “women are seen not heard” springs to mind. But remember that you are just a much of a benefit to a company as your male co-workers or fellow candidates. So whether it’s your first corporate job in tech or you think you deserve a salary that matches your skills, don’t be afraid to bargain for more.

Being a part of an industry that significantly makes our lives easier

So much has changed with the quite recent developments in tech, for the better. Irish Tech News writes about 10 amazing life-changing technology advancements. These range from electricity all the way to lasers and quantum computing. The products and services produced from all areas of tech have significantly improved our lives, from how our health systems now work to education. If you’re looking for a very fulfilling career, tech is the way to go. It’s amazing to know that the tasks you complete, contribute to work that is changing lives. Even if what you are working on is minute in the process, every step is needed to turn the wheel.

No fear of feeling overworked

Tech is a huge industry, that’s only been on the up ever since the pandemic started back in March 2020. While that may seem intense, it also means that companies are not short on workers within their tech specific departments. Cyberstates are expecting 245,500 new jobs in tech in the US alone this year. With a huge amount expected in the tech workforce now and in the future, this means the idea of being overworked is quite slim. Sure like most jobs, you may go through periods of stress, but the constant burnout from 24/7 work isn’t likely to be present so long as you pursue a career in tech.

To conclude

Navigating your way through the working world as a woman is a tough task. There is still a lot of work we as a society need to do, let alone companies in tech and other sectors. With that in mind, tech is actively trying to eliminate gender inequality, with quotas and programmes aimed at women in STEM fields. There are also huge benefits to building your career in tech, from flexibility to career growth and negotiable salaries. As a woman working in e-learning and tech recruitment, I’m still learning the ways in which the industry operates. It’s an ever-changing experience. But with the amazing women I’ve had the opportunity to work with, I got the chance to flourish personally and professionally. And I hope you do too!

Written by Emma Sheridan

As part of International Women’s Day 2021, Ingenio Learning hosted a Women Talk Tech series. Our CEO Rob Magee talked and discussed the background and roles of 8 fantastic female leaders in tech. These inspiring stories show the dedication and commitment given by the women interviewed. The future in tech is very much female. If you’d like to receive the recordings of all 8 sessions, please fill out the form below:

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