Tech Unemployment Numbers Hint at Demand for Women

For the past three consecutive months, the unemployment rate for women in IT has been lower than that of men, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The latest figures, from May, show the women’s tech unemployment rate stood at 3.0 percent compared to 3.6 percent for men. A year earlier, the women’s rate was 6.8 percent compared to 2.3 percent for men.

Unemployment Rate Women vs MenDigging into the Numbers

When it comes to computer and math jobs, men outnumber women by a 3-to-1 ratio. In May, men held 2.9 million jobs compared to the 1 million held by women.

“Women in computers and mathematics are a relatively rare commodity in an already exclusive field,” Eduardo Martinez, a senior economist with Moody’s, told Dice News. “Those numbers tell me that if women in computer and mathematics want to work, they can easily get jobs.”

Meanwhile, the Economic Policy Institute noted that the IT gender gap appears to have been narrowing for more than the past nine months, based on a 12-month moving average.

In part, the change could be attributed to a desire by corporate America to attract and retain more women in the IT workforce, says Carolyn Leighton, founder and chairwoman of the Women in Technology International organization, or WITI.

Additionally, many companies who are focusing new products or enhancements on women are hiring female professionals to ensure that their development and engineering teams reflect their end users.

For example, gaming companies are expressing a greater desire to hire more women, Alex Churchill, CEO of digital entertainment recruiting company VonChurch, told Dice News. Meanwhile, online marketplace Etsy last year offered grants to women in its Hacker School and saw interest in participation soar from three female applicants to 24 women, according to the Atlantic. Etsy’s CTO, Kellan Elliott-McCrea, told a recent roundtable that the company sees hiring women as going beyond appealing to their largely female customer base: It also addresses the idea that attracting women engineers can be difficult when a company’s IT workforce is predominately male.

26 Responses to “Tech Unemployment Numbers Hint at Demand for Women”

  1. frankthefink

    Are we presenting gender inequality as a positive here?
    If this trend was present with genders reversed, the article would have been something like:
    “Higher unemployment for women shows barriers still present for women in tech”
    “Gender Bias Still Evident in Tech Hiring.”

    But never, EVER:
    “Tech Unemployment Numbers Hint at Demand for Men”

  2. zenaxe

    +1. This whole politically correct “As long as it is bad for white males, it is good for society” BS has gone on too long and is hurting American culture and society at this point, IMHO.

  3. Matt Gibson

    Corporate America and the progressives have done a great job at weakening our homes, degrading natures male headship, and making it necessary for two incomes to run a home.
    That is until the divorce and brokeness followed by government welfare and alliance with the woman.
    We could have had peace with the woman, raised up a sweet and peaceful garden around us with all the promises of the new shoots of life. Love.
    Nope! we are kicked out of our garden, why does/did she have to listen to that serpent?

  4. Stinger

    Splitting hairs here, but “gender” is a part of speech and has nothing to do with sex. It would be more grammatically correct to say IT “sex” gap.

    English does not use gender very much as a part of speech, unlike other languages like Spanish or German. For example, in German “das Madchen” (neuter gender) means young girl or maiden because the definite article “das” is neuter, not feminine. In Spanish, “el sombrero” (the hat) is masculine in gender even though we know the hat has no sex. Sometimes in English we hear the term “She’s a good boat.” Now we know the boat has no sex. In this case the “gender” is feminine.

    This confusion of terms was introduced by the LGBT radicals in the mid 1990s as a way to get around the limitation of having only two biological sexes (they now claim five “genders” exist). And the dumbed down mainstream media went for it, even though they are supposed to be knowledgeable about word definitions. They are not. They are simply dupes of the socialist movement, which seeks to create class warfare between the two sexes, just as this article does.

  5. I am female and have not been able to get a job, and like many women I know, I am not counted in the unemployment numbers. Our situations are complex. I have kids, so I am considered a SAHM, even though I would rather work as a software dev. I had a great job, but we moved so that my spouse could take a job across the country, and I have had trouble finding something with the work/life balance we achieved before.

    Even when I am willing to throw out the concept of balance, I am having trouble finding something. I am a UI developer, yet the interviewers spend the entire day asking me algorithms questions on a whiteboard. When I get them right, they tell me I lack confidence, which is understandable in my opinion since it is not what I do everyday. So now I have to spend the summer building confidence and speed in data structures and algorithms so that I can get hired and then go back to my real job in HCI and software architecture. It strikes me that the guys (and they are more likely to be guys) who focus on algorithms for a living do not have this problem.

    I would like to see an analysis of gender in tech that accounted for these kinds of complexities.

    • Stinger

      If you want to see an analysis by “gender” according to the LGBT group, you will need 5 of them (see my comments above on gender vs. sex).

      I agree with you about the white boards and algorithms. And it’s not a question of which sex your are. For a contract position, it used to just be a hand shake over the phone and you show up and do the job. And if you can’t cut it they cut you, no questions asked. Now it’s more like:
      1. phone screen
      2. Online test (with egg head questions you will never see in real life)
      3. Skype interview
      4. Onsite interview (white board, more algorithms, egg head questions)
      5. And finally, it’s “Oh, you have skills A, B, C, D, E, F & G. Do you have H? Sorry, can’t use you!”

      I’ve had better odds at the roulette wheel.

      Getting ready to drop out and become one of the 47 percenters.

    • Theron

      Work life balance is an interesting thing. I recently decided I wanted to achieve that and I believe I have but I can only assume it’s a gradually closing trap as far as career development goes. Once you choose this “balance” (which of course inevitably means your career comes second) then you have given up any pretense of keeping up with your peers and an employer will undoubtedly choose them over you. I’ve decided that’s ok for me and I fully expect that if this job runs out a few years down the road I’m not going to be able to just walk into another similar situation very easily. After all the current job hired me based on my achievements *prior* to my new found work-life balance. The next employer will have to hire me based upon my current less-productive resume…

    • Ditto.
      I’m not counted in the unemployment stats because my leave of absence after a work-related move expired after the last child came along and I haven’t been able to find a position with 20 – 32 hours of natural language database front-ends that I once could find (and with benefits!)

      What I consider when I evaluate work-life balance: the sum of the couples’ respective salaries. I realize that my unpaid efforts allow my spouse to continue in his career without neglecting family needs. I responded to a “women in engineering” survey sent to alumnae
      and the survey did not provide a way to respond that accounted for women who continue to work as engineers/programmers, albeit in an unpaid capacity, e.g. I’m the one who updates the PTA’s spreadsheets; I created a relational database to track which of my kids’ immunization records were up-to-date according to the state where we were living.

      I’ve done contracts for teaching, technical editing, and in-house training. I’ve interviewed innumerable times for jobs that won’t cover replacing my current unpaid work as driver, appointment coordinator for medical and school, meal provider, house cleaner, field-trip chaperone, etc. My friends who are attorneys, accountants, and dentists have fared a lot better in the “work-life balance” department: they can still find part-time work and their salaries cover having a driver for the kids, child-care, and take-out food, so all they have left is the school/medical appointment piece.

      Here’s more on the survey from the University of Wisconsin and you can visit the web-page.
      “Over 5,500 women engineers from 216 universities responded to the survey. We are so grateful to you for your tremendous enthusiasm and wholehearted support for this study. We surely could not have done this without your help!”

    • Women’s lower pay as a reason occurred to me too because according to supply and demand theories of labor that would factor. But the bigger truth is supply and demand economic analysis has been demonstrated to be completely inapplicable for explaining the job market due to it’s assumptions of perfect and free information on the value of candidates and perfect rational actors making rational decisions based on long term cost benefit calculations. According to economic analysis assumptions there is no possibility of prejudice in hiring or gender discrimination because it would not be in the best interest of rational companies to engage in gender pay discrimination.

  6. Yeah, of course women are sought after. They’re more dependable, harder working, more conscientious, better team player – in short they have all the qualities that are so important for a highly-educated indentured slave.

    • Whatever, i don’t one male, unless “married”, that works less than 10 hours paid and more than 2 hours unpaid each day. The statement above about loyalty and devotedness is completely bogus. Team players work out issues. All of the men I have ever known in this business are team players. You just want to make up your own definitions. “Dependability” – left field.

  7. Richard Plocica

    How aboout compensation? I bet you will find it is because women are willing to take less in pay and benefits than men as has been true in the traditional model. Lower pay for women has been with us for quite a while and the higher levels of single moms adds a more pliable group to the mix.

  8. The latest figures, from May, show the women’s tech unemployment rate stood at 3.0 percent compared to 3.6 percent for men. A year earlier, the women’s rate was
    6.8 percent

  9. T Benson

    Women aren’t being hired, even if their kids are grown and they have years of experience.
    Which of course, should not be an issue.

    Why? Not enough BS factor or what? How manly do women have to be to get a job if they are smarter and more capable? Apparently, women need to pretend to be men.

  10. mrsbart

    Let’s get real. Companies are more likely hiring women because they are cheaper to employ than men and they work harder. It has nothing to do with promoting gender equality or reflecting the customer base.

  11. I’m a graduate of computer engineering, I didn’t get the job for two years now, I did the interview in more than one company, surprisingly only men are taken and I’m left behind

  12. Plinko

    Maybe they got ahold of this report because there are a lot more startups than there used to be lol Only half joking, there are a ton of startups out there, that’s mostly who I find myself excited to apply with, not the grumpy old companies that want to do 3 (do i like you) interviews before I get to the person who would know how to rate my technical skills. At least with the startups they make decisions quickly instead of being stuck in a line.
    “In comparing successful
    versus unsuccessful companies, the overall median
    proportion of female executives is 7.1% and 3.1%,
    respectively, demonstrating the value that having more
    females can potentially bring to a management team.
    by industry, we identify the median proportion of female
    executives at successful companies as higher than that of
    unsuccessful companies in the it, healthcare, consumer
    services, and business and financial services industries,
    which are the four largest sectors. We also see that a
    company’s odds for success (versus unsuccess) increase
    with more female executives at the VP and director levels.”

  13. Karina

    For those who are griping about what would be said if the numbers are reversed, while true are missing one point that these numbers fail to reveal. That the women, if hired are probably being paid less. Thus the companies have an incentive to hire a woman over a man. They get the same work for less cost. Then there’s the point that because there are fewer women then men, they also have an incentive to hire a women so they can show that they are equal opportunity employer and can hide the discrepancy in wages.

    And I’ve been discriminated against. One interviewer insisted that the agency rep join us in the interview, and then spent almost the entire time talking about sports with the rep rather than asking me questions. I was also unemployed for almost 2 years and was told by one company that they hired the guy cause he was working and I wasn’t.

  14. Economic supply and demand analysis has a poor track record. People are not perfectly rational, they don’t have free access to perfect information, and they don’t calculate long term cost and benefits before making an decision on hiring.

    Ask any recruiter, and you’ll learn they do a gut check.

  15. Men always choose men to hire, even if they’re LAZY. I find women doing two to three times the work while the men sit around. Yet, they are the ones that will get all the accolades and promoted.