SOURCE: WITI

May 14, 2007 09:00 ET

Research With 2,000 Women Sheds Light on Experiences in Tech Workplaces

Key Conclusion of "Women in Technology 2007 Report": Women Greatly Enjoy Field, Have Mixed Feelings About Company Climates

SHERMAN OAKS, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 14, 2007 -- Based on findings released today by WITI (Women in Technology International) and Compel Ltd., a management consulting and research firm, there is a simultaneously fascinating and disturbing paradox at play in today's technology workplaces. According to research conducted jointly by the organizations, 75 percent of today's women in technology roles would advise a young woman starting her career to enter a technology-related field. Yet, only 52 percent believe their organizations offer "favorable climates" for women.

The findings in the "Women in Technology 2007 Report" derive from an on-line survey conducted and analyzed from December 2006 through March 2007. A total of 1,985 women responded to 34 multiple-choice and three open-ended questions.

"There are two 'Big Ahas!' that emerge from this research," says Patricia Shafer, president of Compel Ltd. and co-author of the report with associate Dr. Barbara Trautlein. "The good news, despite conventional wisdom, is that women are highly energized by technology as an arena where they can be creative and find meaning. The bad news -- they don't necessarily perceive technology organizations as inviting places to pursue their futures."

"The 'Women in Technology 2007 Report' comes at a critical juncture in the history of technology organizations," notes Carolyn Leighton, founder and chairman, WITI. "The number of available technology and IT jobs is projected to increase in the future, but the percentage of women in the IT workforce has declined significantly since 1996. Insights into women's experiences in technology are guideposts for addressing the gap."

Energized by Field, Desire More Influence

There are several indications in the "Women in Technology 2007 Report" that women want more opportunities to shape company direction. Forty-eight percent say their views are not as acknowledged or welcomed as those of men. Forty-four percent say women receive fewer invitations to participate in and lead large initiatives. While 73 percent are confident they can influence their bosses, significantly fewer (53 percent) describe themselves as more broadly influential in the organization. Women are divided, 55 percent to 45 percent, regarding the extent to which they do or don't feel "in control of their careers."

Contrasted with Women CIOs

The research also included in-depth interviews with 16 women holding CIO roles in several industries and geographies. The themes of these interviews differ distinctly from the broader on-line survey.

For instance, the women CIOs consistently describe careers replete with taking on risky projects, crafting an inspiring vision, aligning teams and forging ahead in the face of adversity -- exhibiting a leadership archetype that Shafer and Trautlein dub the Optimistic Bridgebuilder. At the same time, the women CIOs cite the pivotal contributions to their success of role models, personal networks and one-on-one coaching. Yet, 46 percent of on-line survey respondents say they do not have or never had a mentor in their current company. Only 27 percent say their companies have formal women's mentoring and networking programs in place.

Applying the Findings

Despite lessons inherent in the CIO interviews and widespread evidence of a link between mentoring and career progress, the "Women in Technology 2007 Report" reveals most technology organizations have not developed disciplined programs to support women employees.

"If there is a single message to technology companies and functions, it's the need to get serious about committing resources to women's career development initiatives," says Trautlein.

For more details:

WITI and Compel Ltd. will hold a Webinar on Tuesday, May 15, and Tuesday, May 29, 2-3:30 p.m (ET); 11-12:30 p.m. (PT), to go over the report findings. To register for the event or download the "Women in Technology 2007 Report" visit http://www.witi.com/center/webinar/

About the Report Co-authors

Patricia Shafer is president of consulting and research firm Compel Ltd., dedicated to Evoking.Courageous.Leadership(SM). She is a contributing author to "Enlightened Power: How Women are Transforming the Practice of Leadership" (Wiley/Jossey-Bass, 2005) and a columnist on workplace issues for the magazine Global HR News. She holds an MSc in Consulting and Coaching for Change from Oxford University, UK, and HEC, France, and an MBA from the Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Barbara Trautlein is an associate of Compel Ltd. She holds a PhD and MA in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan and has taught research methodology at the graduate level.

About WITI

WITI (Women in Technology International) is the leading trade association for professional, tech-savvy women committed to using technology, resources and connections to advance women worldwide. WITI's mission is to empower women worldwide to achieve unimagined possibilities and transformations through technology, leadership and economic prosperity.

Contact Information

  • For more information, contact:

    WITI - Public Relations (Ruder Finn)
    Sandra Srihari
    212-715-1609
    Email Contact