By understanding the unique circumstances women employees have, managers can adjust their behaviour to create a safe, more productive environment
In the sixty years since joining the workforce, women have made significant progress at all levels of the corporate, non-profit, and government sectors. However, an area concern continues to be that of 'manager' - across the world, positions of leadership and power continue to be dominated by men. Even in the most gender progressive countries, like Iceland, women hold only about 22 per cent of executive positions at companies.
The field of technology is no stranger to this phenomenon - at five Big Tech firms (including Google and Microsoft), women make up less than one third of leaders. According to Adeva IT, women held only 25 per cent of all the jobs in the tech industry, despite women making up almost half of the total workforce. What's worse, this number is lower than the percentage of tech jobs held by women back in the 1980s.
One of the primary truths of the corporate world is that people quit managers, they don't quit jobs, and managers are simply not equipped with the knowledge they need to ensure their women employees are happy.
At SUSE, we understand that true unity comes from our diversity. With five generations in the workplace, spanning the globe, we understand there is not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to leadership development. Every individual needs to be managed with understanding and kindness, but by understanding the unique circumstances women employees have, managers are able to adjust their behaviour to create the safest and most productive environment.
This is especially necessary now, as the pandemic continues wreaking havoc on our lives. During the first year of the pandemic, 54 million women around the world left their careers. Those who remained found themselves not just managing their second shift (care for everything in the home), but a third shift.
McKinsey's 2021 Women in the Workplace report found that women are far more likely than their male peers to invest in the success of other co-workers. The data shows that women are:
- 17% more likely than men to ensure workloads are manageable
- 21% more to help navigate work/life challenges
- 31% more to take actions on burnout
- 63% more likely to provide emotional support
This third shift encompasses 'office housework' - the unpaid additional effort of managing and leading Diversity & Inclusion efforts (including the writing of this blog).
Without intentionality from managers who are juggling their own jobs, families and pandemic crises', the efforts of women in the workplace will continue to go unnoticed and nothing will be done to solve the gender gap in management. However, by recognising the efforts of women as 'above and beyond', managers are able to become stronger allies and sponsors of their women employees along their journey toward leadership.
While these findings might seem disheartening for women looking to join the technology ecosystem, one thing is clear: supporting organisations such as the Women in Tech Network that foster opportunities to empower, inspire and commemorate the women who shape our workforce has never been more critical. If you are looking for a career or interested in technology, I encourage you to look for organisations and mentors that can help provide guidance and mentorship.