The challenge of retaining women in tech fields

June 23, 20161 minute read

An article on Huffington Post, written by Jenny Dearborn, Chief Learning Officer at SAP, reveals that “U.S. women working in science, engineering and technology fields are 45% more likely than their male peers to leave the industry within a year.” (This statistic comes from an article in Harvard Business Review titled, “What’s Holding Women Back in Science and Technology Industries.”)

The Huffington Post piece cites two relevant studies: “A report last year on Women in the Workplace by and McKinsey & Company revealed that nearly four in 10 women in technology feel their gender will make it difficult for them to advance in the future. A recent study by Bain & Company found that 43 percent of new female employees aspire to the C-suite, yet after two years that percentage plummets to 16 percent. By contrast, male aspiration to top leadership doesn’t wane with experience and in fact increases the closer men get to a corner office.”

The author suggests four steps companies should take to correct the situation, including: providing opportunities to make an impact, such as rotations; encouraging active sponsorship; building a diverse pipeline; and advocating for equalization, setting expectations for leadership teams.