Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Organizations need new ways to retain women in the IT workplace

15.07.2005


In the first study of its kind to focus on college-trained IT professional women working in positions from systems analysts to IT project leaders, a team of Penn State researchers have found new evidence that organizations need better policies and programs to foster women in the IT workplace.



The researchers recommend that employers address ways to retain women in those critical moments when they are bearing and caring for young children. These ways could range from supporting part-time work arrangements and job sharing to telecommuting, flexible hours and child-care subsidies.

"Women bring different perspectives and different needs to the workplace, and organizations need to recognize that," said Steve Sawyer, a faculty member in the Penn State School of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) and co-researcher on the study. "For instance, women who are discouraged from information networking and mentoring with their co-workers have very different employment outcomes than men."


Mark Wardell, associate professor of labor studies and sociology who led the study, said, "We have known that women are underrepresented in the IT workforce, but the assumption has been that if women have professional IT skills, they can enter the IT workforce and be successful. What our research shows is that it doesn’t get any easier for women even after they have their feet in the door."

Drawing on interviews with more than 2,800 IT workers, the researchers found that, despite similar educational backgrounds, women with IT-related degrees earn on average $15,000 less than men in similar positions and are 2.5 times more likely than men to leave the IT workforce.

Among the other findings, while men are slightly more likely to work in the private sector, women are far more likely to work in large organizations with well-defined health benefits. The median size of organizations where women work is four times the median size of organizations where men work, according to the researchers.

Wardell recently presented the findings at the Women, Work & IT Forum at the University of Queensland, Australia. The study is detailed in a paper, "Women in the United States’ IT Workforce: Current Status and Issues," authored by Wardell; Sawyer, associate professor of information sciences and technology; Sara Reagor, a Ph.D. student in information sciences and technology; and Jessica Mitory, a master’s degree student in labor studies and industrial relations.

Researchers interviewed college graduates with IT-related degrees from five U.S. universities -- two private and three public -- located in the Mid-Atlantic region and on the West Coast, two hot IT labor markets. Participants, who had all graduated since 1988, were asked 120 question in telephone interviews that lasted between 25 minutes and 45 minutes.

The data show that the median salary for men was $80,000; the median salary for women was $65,000 in 2004. The salary of the highest-earning man was $900,000; the salary of the highest-earning woman was $539,000. While men work about two hours more a week than women, that difference doesn’t equate to $15,000 a year, Sawyer said.

"The magnitude of the salary differential between men and women is far greater than we expected," Sawyer said. "Because we controlled for similarity in educational preparation, our data makes it clear that this difference is not driven by skill disparities between men and women."

James Thomas, dean of the Penn State School of Information Sciences and Technology, noted, "women graduates of IST are earning on average more than male graduates. Perhaps the trend is for the gap to be closing as new educational programs in IT stress problem solving and the use of technology to make differences in organizations, indeed society."

The interviewees also indicated that women leave the IT workforce in greater numbers than men. About 14 percent of the men dropped out of the field compared to 33.6 percent of the women in the 14 years after college graduation. The researchers speculated that "a combination of family and employer characteristics" make it more difficult for women to raise children and maintain a full-time IT career.

While it is generally accepted that IT as a field demands constant training and education to stay current with advances, only about one-third of the respondents engaged in additional education and skill upgrading. Of that one-third, most were enrolled in formal degree programs rather than certificate programs or seminars and workshops.

Charlie DuBois | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psu.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

nachricht First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch

22.05.2018 | Life Sciences

PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target

22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences

Achema 2018: New camera system monitors distillation and helps save energy

22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>